41 points in a quarter? Shooting stars in second semifinal of Tomcat Shootout

ASHLAND, Ky. – Was this basketball or a track meet?

An entertaining and high-flying opening quarter got the second semifinal of the Tomcat Shootout simulation tournament off to a breathtaking start Thursday.

The free-wheeling 2015-2020 Tomcats put 41 points on the board with a shooting exhibition that dropped jaws throughout James A. Anderson Gymnasium while the 2000-2004 Tomcats nearly matched them basket for basket with 34 points.

The basketball hardly ever hit the floor with both teams throwing long passes over the defense and making shots that seemed impossible. About the only thing that slowed the game down were all the swishes in the scoring-fest, hanging the basketball up in the net to prevent another over-the-top pass.

When the smoke cleared through an already fatigued 2000-2004 Tomcat team was gasping for breath. They had played a grueling game against the 1980-84 Tomcats just two days ago. In the end, they couldn’t keep up the pace and the 2015-20 Tomcats – making 14 of 30 3-pointers and running it up the floor at every opportunity – rolled to a 118-103 victory to move into the championship game against the 1960-64 Tomcats at Anderson gym on Friday night.

“You try having Jeff Tipton lean on you for 48 minutes,” said 2000-04 Tomcats star Mark Surgalski. “I’d like to say he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother, but I’d be lying. He is heavy and he’s my brother. He’s also the best big man I’ve ever gone against.”

Surgalski had his legs early, scoring 16 of his 26 points in the first 12 minutes. But they were able to shut him down for the remainder of the game, holding him to 10 points by using three different players on him.

“Shutting down big Mark was something we knew was going to be nearly impossible,” said 2015-20 Tomcats coach Jason Mays. “And we really didn’t. I mean, he scored 26 points. But for three quarters to hold him to 10 points was something else and probably won the game for us. Cole, Nick (Miller) and Justin (Bradley) kept rotating on him and they had a lot of help. We also limited Arliss, and Justin and Huddy (Ethan Hudson) took turns on him.”

The rest of the script was much the same as always for the 2015-20. The Villers brothers combined for 51 points, the 3-pointers were falling and they had 27 assists on 43 baskets led by point guard Colin Porter’s 10 dimes.

“Why change a good thing?” said Mays. “That’s been our formula for success along with great defense. We gave up 103 points but against that club, I’ll take it. I knew we needed more than 100 to beat them.”

Six players scored in double figures led by Christian Villers with 18, including 13 in the opening quarter. Chase Villers scored 17, Cole Villers 16 and 10 rebounds, Bradley 15 points and nine rebounds, Porter with 14 points and Ethan Hudson with 11 points and seven rebounds.

“They have some great balance and the Villers boys are too much for anybody,” said 2000-04 coach Mike Flynn. “We were playing with dead legs. The quarterfinal game took every ounce of energy we had inside us. The extra day of rest (for the 2015-20 Tomcats) made a big difference. I’d like for us to have had that on our side.”

The score was 60-54 at halftime with both teams firing up shots from everybody. The 2000-04 Tomcats had the lead at 50-48 but was outscored 12-4 the remainder of the half.

“Big swing there,” Mays said. “We were humming along  and then kind of fell apart for a few minutes. We bounced back in the last three minutes and regained the lead. I think that took a lot out of them mentally.”

It showed when the second half started. A decisive third quarter saw the 2015-20 Tomcats keep up the scoring with 28 points while holding the 2000-04 Tomcats to 19 points.

Arliss Beach and Zack Davis scored 13 apiece and Matt Johnson had 12 points. Jeremy Howell collected eight points and eight assists for the 2000-04 Tomcats.

“We had a good run,” Flynn said. “Those younger kids can play the game. It’ll be interesting to see how they do against the Legends. I wouldn’t count them out.”

The largest lead of the game was 19 points for the 2015-20 Tomcats. A 12-0 flurry led to the huge lead that was too much for the 2015-20 Tomcats to overcome.

“Mark knows all our kids so well,” Mays said. “I’m sure he’s not happy about losing to us. He’s a warrior out there. Tipton and those 80s guys worked him over pretty good. I saw that game. It was physical.”

The slick-passing 20s Tomcats were so good they even tongue-tied Dicky Martin’s descriptions over the air on several occasions.

“By gawd, I love both these teams and hated to see either one of them lose,” he said. “But that championship game is going to be something to watch.”

Fans will have the option of listening to Dick Martin – voice of the 60s Tomcats – or his son Dicky Martin, voice of the 2015-20 Tomcats.

2015-2020 TOMCATS (118) – Christian Villers 8-16 0-3 18, Chase Villers 6-14 1-1 17, Bradley 7-8 0-2 15, Cole Villers 6-12 3-3 16, Hudson 4-4 3-4 11, Miller 2-5 0-0 5, Sellars 2-4 2-2 8, Robinson 3-4 1-3 7, Porter 3-5 6-6 14, Mays 1-5 2-2 5. FG: 43-79. FT: 18-26. 3FG: 14-30 (Christian Villers 2-3, Chase Villers 4-9, Bradley 1-3, Cole Villers 1-3, Miller 1-2, Sellars 2-3, Porter 2-3, Mays 1-4). Rebounds: 42 (Christian Villers 6, Chase Villers 2, Bradley 9, Cole Villers 10, Hudson 7, Miller 2, Sellers 3, Robinson 1, Porter 1, Mays 1). Assists: 27 (Christian Villers 1, Chase Villers 1, Bradley 2, Cole Villers 7, Hudson 2, Miller3, Robinson 1, Porter 10). PF: 18. Turnovers: 9.

2000-2004 TOMCATS (103) – Howell 3-11 0-0 8, J.Cook 3-7 3-3 9, Surgalkski 10-19 2-2 26, Howard 4-6 0-0 8, Johnson 5-11 2-2 12, Davis 6-12 0-0 13, Cooksey 3-6 2-3 8, C.Cook 1-3 0-0 3, Salyers 1-4 0-0 3. FG: 40-89. FT: 13-14. 3FG: 10-26 (Howell 2-7, J.Cook 0-3, Surgalski 4-7, Davis 1-1, Cooksey 0-1, Beach 1-4, C.Cook 1-1, Salyers 1-2). Rebounds: 44 (Howell 4, J.Cook 3, Surgalski 9, Howard 7, M.Johnson 5, Davis 4, Cooksey 3, Beach 3, C.Cook 3, Salyers 2). Assists: 26 (Howell 8, Surgalski 3, Howard 3, M.Johnson 1, Davis 3, Cooksey 1, Beach 6, C.Cook 1). PF: 21. Turnovers: 17.

2015-2020 TOMCATS     41       19       28        30         –         118

2000-2004 TOMCATS     34       20       19        30         –        103

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