Oh brother! Villers trio adds up to victory for 2015-2020 Tomcats

ASHLAND, Ky. – One of the highest-scoring games in the Tomcat Shootout series that featured a record 62 3-point attempts came down to a triple-V attack.

The Villers brothers – Christian, Chase and Cole – combined for 74 points and the 2015-2020 Tomcats defeated the 2010-204 Tomcats 118-113 in a game that had fans waiting in line for tickets hours before tipoff.

Cole Villers goes inside for a basket. (Kimberly Phillips photo)

Part of the allure was the Villers’ brothers and they didn’t disappoint, scoring 38 (Christian), 26 (Cole) and 10 (Chase). The other attraction were members of the 2020 undefeated Tomcats. Ethan Sellars, Justin Bradley, Ethan Hudson and Colin Porter combined for 20 of 22 assists.

The 3-point shot was active for both teams: the 2010-14 Tomcats firing up 15 of 33 and the 2015-20 Tomcats making 9 of 29.

The idea that these teams would score a lot put some butts in the seats and put a smile on Athletic Director Mark Swift’s face. “I selfishly hope this series goes the full three games,” he said. “This place is all maroon-and-white on both sides. I love it! Maybe I can retire a few days earlier if we have two more crowds like this one.”

Buddy Biggs, who was the losing coach in the last series between the 2000-2004 and 2005-2009 Tomcats, fell to 0-3 in series games.

“Surely there is something in the rulebook that says that all three of the Villers’ brothers can’t play at the same time,” Biggs said. “I mean, come on, how fair can that be? That kind of brotherly love can bring you down in a hurry. We honestly couldn’t do much with them but we let it slip away in the fourth quarter. We still should have won. It’s frustrating.”

True enough. The 2010-14 Tomcats led 34-24 at the half and took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter. Dylan Delaney was on fire, making 9 of 10 shots and scoring 22. He was one of five in double figures.

At one juncture, the 2010-14 Tomcats led by 14 points at 96-82 with nine minutes remaining in the game.

“You can’t lose games like this one,” Biggs said. “We only scored 17 points in the last nine minutes. That’s horrible.”

Cole Villers scored 10 in the last nine minutes for the 2015-20 Tomcats and he also pulled down 11 rebounds. The Villers were a combined 25-for-55 from the field, 6-of-16 on 3-pointers and 18 of 21 on free throws. Christian Villers made 12 of 13 free throws. None of the three had an assist.

“That’s funny,” Porter said. “Those guys don’t pass too much. You throw it into them, it’s probably not coming back.”

2015-20 Tomcat coach Jason Mays just shrugged. “They combined for 74 points, so I’m not complaing. We can throw it into them a few more times tomorrow night.”

Devaunte Robinson managed to score in double figures too with 10 points and Sellars scored nine.

“You get 118 points and if three players get most of it, so what?” Mays said. “We scored 118. I don’t care how it came.”

Once it was 96-82, the 2015-20 Tomcats came to live with a 12-0 streak to get back in the game at 96-94. Cole Villers and Miller combined for eight of those points.

“We gave up some offensive rebounds during that streak,” Biggs said. “You have to box out and we did a poor job of it.”

It was 99-94 when Sellars scored on a drive to make it 99-96 and Hudson hit consecutive 3-pointers to put the 2015-20 Tomcats ahead 102-99. Cody Withrow tied it with a triple at 102. An 8-2 run, fueled by triples from Christian Villers and Miller, made it 110-104.

The game was tied at 111 after Dikembe Dixson, who had 19 points and nine rebounds, scored on consecutive inside moves. Cole Villers scored and Christian Villers made two free throws for a 115-111 advantage with 41 seconds remaining.

The 2015-20 Tomcats held on for the five-point victory and 1-0 edge in the series.

Corey Gregg had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Ryan Whetsel scored 17. Will Skaggs collected 11 points and nine assists for the 2010-14 Tomcats.

“We can play better,” Gregg said. “I’m not sure what happened to us down the stretch. We had them gasping for breath. We’re going to have to beat them two in a row now.”


2015-2020 TOMCATS (118) – Christian Villers 12-25 12-13 38, Chase Villers 3-9 1-2 10, Cole Villers 10-21 5-6 26, Porter 1-6 5-6 7, Sellars 3-4 3-4 9, Robinson 5-10 0-0 10, Hudson 2-3 0-0 6, Bradley 3-4 0-0 6, Miller 2-5 0-0 5, Mays 0-1 1-2 1. FG: 41-88. FT: 27-33. 3FG: 9-29 (Christian Villers 2-8, Chase Villers 3-7, Cole Villers 1-3, Porter 0-1, Robinson 0-5, Hudson 2-3, Miller 1-2). Rebounds: 45 (Christian Villers 3, Chase Villers 3, Cole Villers 11, Porter 3, Sellars 6, Robinson 4, Hudson 2, Bradley 9, Miller 3, Mays 1). Assists: 22 (Porter 7, Sellars 3, Robinson 2, Hudson 5, Bradley 5). PF: 19. Turnovers: 15.

2010-2014 TOMCATS (113) – Skaggs 3-6 3-3 11, Delaney 9-10 0-0 22, Gregg 5-22 6-11 18, Whetsel 6-10 2-2 17, Dixson 8-15 3-3 19, Stewart 1-6 0-0 2, Friley 1-6 2-2 4, Salow 2-5 0-0 5, Withrow 3-6 0-0 9, C.Johnson 3-6 0-0 6. FG: 41-92. FT: 16-21. 3FG: 15-33 (Skaggs 2-4, Delaney 4-5, Gregg 2-9, Whetsel 3-3, Dixson 0-1, Stewart 0-2, Friley 0-2, Salow 1-2, Withrow 3-5). Rebounds: 45 (Skaggs 6, Delaney 2, Gregg 6, Whetsel 7, Dixson 9, Stewart 3, Friley 5, Withrow 1, C.Johnson 6). Assists: 28 (Skaggs 9, Delaney 1, Gregg 5, Whetsel 2, Dixson1, Stewart 2, Friley 4, Salow 4). PF: 26. Turnovers: 19.

2015-2020 TOMCATS     24        25        33        36         –      118

2010-2014 TOMCATS     34         17        33        29        –       113

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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