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ASHLAND TOMCAT ALL-STAR SHOOTOUT

A-MAZE-ing coaching assist, Villers brothers lead to 2015-2020 sweep

ASHLAND, Ky. – A coaching assist and the high-scoring Villers brothers powered the 2015-20 Tomcats to a sweep of the 2010-14 Tomcats, advancing them to the quarterfinals of the Tomcat Shootout.

Much like in the opener of the best-of-3 series, the Villers’ trio was too much to overcome. But, also like the opener, the 2010-14 Tomcats blew a double-figure lead.

The 2015-20 Tomcats carved out a 106-96 at Anderson gym in front of a large crowd that came for some offensive fireworks.

Christian, Chase and Cole Villers combined for 61 points with the youngest brother, Cole, scoring 34 points. Christian had an off-shooting night, going 5-for-16, but added 16 points and Chase scored 11. Justin Bradley was also in double figures with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Coach Jason Mays directs traffic on the floor.

“The Villers are killers,” said 2010-14 coach Buddy Biggs. “No matter where you turned, one of them was open and shooting. I thought I was seeing double, or maybe even triple!”

The 2015-20 Tomcats started bombing from the start and connected on 13-of-33 from 3-point range. They limited the 2010-14 Tomcats to 2-of-8 from downtown. That 39-6 advantage on triples was easily the difference in the game.

“We like our threes,” said 2015-20 Tomcat coach Jason Mays. “Those guy can shoot ‘em all day long. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel for them.”

However, much like the opener, the 2010-14 Tomcats were leading late in the game. They took their largest lead at 54-43 when Tyler Stewart stroked a 17-footer from the corner with 53 seconds to play in the first half on the way to a 54-47 halftime advantage.

They lost the lead for good when Nick Miller drained a 3-pointer at the close of the third quarter to put the 2015-20 Tomcats ahead 78-76.

“Huge shot from Nick right there,” Mays said. “We needed that one to take some momentum into the fourth quarter.”

In an unusual turn, Mays was not on the bench for much of the fourth quarter after suffering from a stomach virus (his wife, Lori Beth, said it wasn’t from her cooking but something Dicky Martin made for the family). He turned the coaching duties over to Luke Maze, who got the most out of the 2015-20 Tomcats after getting in their faces a little.

“I wasn’t sure they were going to listen to me at first so I had to knock some heads together,” Maze said. “Then they listened.”

He called three timeouts in the fourth quarter and each time the team answered with a spurt, the last one allowing them to pull away for the win.

“I’ll have to watch the video to see what he did, but the kid is born to coach,” Mays said afterward. “It’s good to have a backup head coach, too. The Tomcats are fortunate to have Luke with us. He’s as much a part of this program as anybody.”

The 2015-20 Tomcats were practically flawless with only eight turnovers. Point guard Colin Porter had nine points and nine assists.

“With the way those guys shoot the ball and with the Villers brothers out there, they have a chance to win this thing,” Biggs said. “I thought we did all we could do. That three at the end of the quarter and the one to start the fourth quarter (by Ethan Hudson) put us in a hole.”

Hudson bombed one in from 25 feet and nobody blinked to make it 81-76. The 2015-20 Tomcats gradually began to pull away and led by as much as 15 points toward the end before settled for the 10-point win.

“I wanted a 20-point win,” Maze said. “But I’ll take it I guess.”

The game featured six lead changes and was tied nine times.

Three free throws from Porter, who was fouled while shooting one from 22 feet, made it 100-89 with 2:41 remaining.

“When I came back out, there was only about a minute to play,” Mays said. “I let my boy Luke finish it off. Give him the game ball for this one. He pulled us through as much as anybody.”

Corey Gregg was superb in the loss with 31 points and 18 rebounds. He also made 11 of 11 free throws. Dikembe Dixscon collected 25 points and nine rebounds, Ryan Whetsel scored 11 and Dylan Delaney 10.

“It was great playing with these guys again,” Delaney said. “They were good. Give them credit. But I love my guys too.”

A blind draw will determine the quarterfinal pairings on Saturday. Seven decades will be represented and one team will get a bye to the semifinals. It will be determined in the draw.

 

2015-20 TOMCATS (106) – Christian Villers 5-16 4-4 16, Hudson 2-6 0-0 6, Cole Villers 12-19 7-9 34, Chase Villers 4-6 2-4 11, Bradley 5-9 0-0 10, Miller 2-6 0-0 5, Mays 1-3 3-4 5, Porter 2-8 3-3 9, Robinson 1-4 2-2 5, Sellars 2-5 0-0 5. FG: 36-82. FT: 21-26. 3FG: 13-33 (Christian Villers 2-8, Hudson 2-6, Cole Villers 3-3, Chase Villers 1-1, Bradley 0-1, Miller 1-3, Porter 2-6, Robinson 1-4, Sellars 1-1). Rebounds: 38 (Christian Villers 6, Hudson 3, Cole Villers 6, Chase Villers 4, Bradley 9, Miller 1, Mays 5, Porter 1, Robinson 3). Assists: 16 (Christian Villers 2, Hudson 1, Cole Villers 2, Chase Villers 2, Porter 9, Robinson 1). PF: 27. Turnovers: 8.

2010-2014 TOMCATS (96) – Skaggs 1-3 1-3 3, Whetsel 4-7 2-3 11, Stewart 2-11 0-0 6, Dixson 9-14 7-11 25, Gregg 10-19 11-11 31, Delaney 4-6 2-2 10, C.Johnson 0-2 2-2 2, Friley 2-4 0-0 4, Salow 2-6 0-0 4, Withrow 1-3 0-0 2. FG: 35-75. FT: 24-31. 3FG: 2-8 (Whetsel 1-2, Stewart 0-3, Delaney 1-2). Rebounds: 47 (Skaggs 3, Whetsel 4, Stewart 5, Dixson 9, Gregg 18, Delaney 2, C.Johnson 3, Salow 1, Withrow 2). Assists: 21 (Skaggs 6, Whetsel 2, Stewart 1, Dixson 1, Salow 5, Withrow 1, Delaney 5). PF: 25. Turnovers: 13.

2015-20 TOMCATS      24         23         31         28        –      106

2010-14 TOMCATS      24         30         22         20        –     96

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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