70-74 Tomcats flex shooting muscles in blowout second quarter

ASHLAND, Ky. – In a game that was shaping up as a shootout in the opening quarter went south in a hurry Tuesday night during the Tomcat Shootout best-of-3 series between the 1970s all-star teams.

The 1970-74 Tomcats exploded in the second quarter and went on to a surprising 105-97 victory over the 1975-79 Tomcat All-Stars at Anderson gym.

The game was tight until the pivotal second quarter when the 70-74 Tomcats outscored the 75-79 Tomcats decisively 28-8 for a 60-33 halftime lead. It was a stunning margin that nobody saw coming, especially the coaches of the two teams.

“They overwhelmed us in the second quarter,” said 75-79 coach Paul Patterson. “I’ve never had a team give up 60 points in a half and certainly not 105 in a game. These All-Star games are hard to figure. Where is the defense?”

It didn’t show up much, but the offense was especially lacking in the second quarter for the 75-79 Tomcats, made up largely of players from the 1977 final four team.

“Eight points,” lamented Patterson. “That’s it. Eight points.”

Coach Steve Gilmore was pleased with his 70-74 All-Stars.

Defense was the difference for the 70-74 Tomcats, said coach Steve Gilmore.

“These guys like to shoot but they can get down and dirty on defense when they want to,” he said. “We did that in the second quarter.”

The 70-74 Tomcats zoomed ahead 82-53 with two minutes to play in the third quarter, expanding on the big halftime advantage and essentially putting the game out of reach.

Five players scored in double figures led by Johnny Mullins with 21 points and four assists. Rough-and-tumble Jeff Cooksey battled Jeff Kovach inside and came away with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Ronnie Griffith had 15 points, six assists and seven rebounds while Dale Lynch added 14 points and Danny Evans 13.

“We just outplayed these guys badly tonight,” Evans said. “I don’t know how else you can paint it. That second quarter took them out of the game.”

A huge fourth quarter from the 75-79 Tomcats showed some promise. They scored 42 points in that quarter alone and hope it catapults them in game 2 of the best-of-3 series.

“Like Coach Patterson said, it was an embarrassing night,” said forward Mark Swift, who scored a dozen points. “It won’t be this way in Game 2. I guarantee it.”

Kovach had 24 points and six rebounds, Greg Swift collected seven points and 11 assists and Jim Harkins had 15 point and nine rebounds.

“Kovach is a handful,” Gilmore said. “They did a good job of isolating him in the second half. That’s something we’re going to have to watch going forward.”

What pleased Gilmore the most was the 26 assists that were accumulated on the 43 baskets.

“These guys are so unselfish,” he said. “No matter who we had in the game, they were looking for the open shooter. We had five in double figures and another with nine (Steve Dodd, who also had five rebounds). You get that kind of balance from good passing.”

The 70-74 Tomcats shot 54 percent from the field and held a 39-36 rebound advantage. Neither team had much luck from the 3-point line. The 75-79 Tomcats were 4-of-13 and the 70-74 Tomcats were 0-for-3.

“We’re not used to taking shots from behind the arc,” Gilmore said. “We’ll come around with that in future games.”

1975-79 ASHLAND (97) – Collins 4-9 3-3 11, M.Swift 5-11 0-0 12, Harkins 6-13 2-2 15, G.Swift 3-6 1-1 7, Kovach 11-21 2-4 24, Welch 3-6 2-2 8, Smith 2-4 0-0 5, Dummit 3-6 1-2 7, Allen 1-3 0-0 2, Mann 2-5 0-0 4. FG: 41-87. FT: 11-14. 3FG: 4-13 (Collins 0-1, M.Swift 2-5, Harkins 1-2, Kovach 0-1, Smith 1-3). Rebounds: 36 (Collins 3, M.Swift 2, Harkins 9, G.Swift 3, Kovach 6, Welch 2, Smith 3, Dummit 2, Mann 4, Allen 2). Assists: 23 (Collins 1, M.Swift 3, Harkins 4, G.Swift 11, Kovach 1, Smith 2, Allen 1). PF: 22. Turnovers: 14.

1970-74 ASHLAND (105) – Lynch 6-9 2-2 14, Mullins 9-13 3-4 21, Cooksey 7-16 3-4 17, Griffith 6-9 3-4 15, Dodd 3-7 3-3 9, Evans 6-7 1-2 13, Farrow 1-5 0-0 2, Williams 1-7 2-2 4, Hixson 2-3 2-2 6, Smith 2-3 0-0 4. FG: 43-80. FT: 19-23. 3FG: 0-3 (Lynch 0-1, Farrow 0-2). Rebounds: 39 (Lynch 1, Mullins 4, Cooksey 10, Griffith 7, Dodd 5, Evans 2, Farrow 1, Williams 4, Hixson 3, Smith 2). Assists: 26 (Lynch 1, Mullins 4, Cooksey 3, Griffith 6, Dodd 2, Evans 6, Farrow 3, Williams 1). PF: 18. Turnovers: 12.

1975-79 ASHLAND        25         8          22       42       –          97

1970-74 ASHLAND        32         28       22        23        –        105


By Mark Maynard

Managing editor of Kentucky Today, the digital newspaper of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, since July 2017. Worked 42 years for The Daily Independent in Ashland, Kentucky, the last 12 as managing editor and editor and the previous 30 before that in the sports department, including 17 years as sports editor. I have been in the business since 1975 with more than 75 writing awards from the Kentucky Press Association. I have also have written eight books, used to run fast but now look more like I have a piano on my back. President of Amy For Africa, a faith-based Christian ministry serving Uganda. I'm a husband to Beth and father to Stephen and Sally, grandfather to Brooks and human to Opie!

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