BY ROCKEY STANLEY
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
RUSSELL Lewis County coach Joe Hampton passed out kudos after watching Ashland guard Chase Villers shine against his team for the second time this season.
Villers scored 26 points in the red-hot Tomcats’ 70-49 victory Saturday afternoon to kick off the Marvin Meredith Classic.
Back on opening night this season, Villers poured in 33 against the Lions.
“He’s very hard to stop, especially with teammates that you can’t help off of,” Hampton said. “Along with shooting it well, Villers is going to beat most people in the region off the bounce and create for others.”
Devaunte Robinson supplied a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while guard Hunter Mays also gave the Tomcats a big lift on their way to win No. 14 in 15 outings.
Coach Jeremy Howell was particularly pleased with Ashland’s defensive effort following a quick turnaround from Friday’s lopsided win over Russell.
“I think overall the defensive effort was really good again,” Howell said. “They could have had a letdown, but came out mentally ready.”
Lewis County struggled offensively, shooting a frigid 1-for-15 from behind the arc and converting only eight of 21 free throws.
“We felt if we could hold Ashland to around 70 points, we had a chance,” Hampton said. “I don’t think we took bad shots. We failed to put the ball in the basket and Ashland did. Free throws have been a rollercoaster for us. We’ve had some excellent days and days like today.”
In contrast to Lewis County’s long-range troubles, Ashland splashed 9-of-17 of them. Villers led the way with four treys, when he wasn’t taking the ball to the basket with effectiveness.
“That’s who he is, Chase the competitor,” Howell said. “It’s his senior year and last chance to cut down the nets and get to Rupp Arena. I think they have been sensing it the last year or two.”
Ashland’s latest ‘W’ surpassed last season’s total.
Mays, a 5-foot-10 junior, continued to play a key role in the team’s surge. He scored eight of his 13 points during a 132 run to open the second half. Mays began by hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Villers added a deep three from in front of Ashland’s bench, and Mays went inside for a three-point play.
Eighth-grader Cole Villers delivered the last five points of the third quarter to make it 56-33. He buried a 3-pointer, then put in a layup off a feed from his brother.
Tay Offutt had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Lewis County in a good battle with Robinson.
“That’s a tough team,” Howell said of the Lions (9-8). “I still think they are the thirdbest team in the region. Joe Hampton is a heck of a coach. Let’s see where they are in March.”
LEWISCO. 1313 7 16—49 ASHLAND 181820 14—70
Lewis County (49) — O’Keefe 5, Willis, Offutt 18, Wallingford 2, Wright 6, Robersion 6, Ruckel 8, Caudill 3, Stone, Lykins, McCann, Thomas 1, Yates. PF: 15. Fouled out: None. 3-point FGs: 1 (Wright). Turnovers: 4.
Ashland (70) — Ch. Villers 26, Bradley 3, Robinson 16, Conway 5, Mays 13, Co. Villers 5, Hudson 2, May, Cline, Phillips, Rogers, Gillum. PF: 19. Fouled out: None. 3-point FGs: 9 (Ch. Villers 4, Mays 2, Bradley, Conway, Co. Villers). Turnovers: 12.
Russell 70 Chesapeake 56
Team leader Bobby Hale answered the call as the Red Devils pulled away from Chesapeake in the second half.
The senior guard turned three steals into third-quarter layups and finished with 20 points.
“Bobby started doing a better job on the ball,” coach Bryan Groves said. “He got deflections and made steals. Like I told him this morning, ‘When you’re good, we’re good.’ That’s both ends of the floor. Our other guys fed off him.”
Three teammates — and nearly a fourth — joined Hale in double figures. Austin Clark scored 11, followed by sophomore Tristan Miller and freshman Charlie Jachimczuk with 10 apiece. Miller came off the bench to connect on all three of his 3-point attempts.
Meanwhile, Brandon Rose made his presence felt inside with nine points and nine rebounds.
“Our bigs played good, solid basketball underneath even though some of that doesn’t show up in the boxscore,” Groves said. “It was a good team win.”
Russell helped force 25 turnovers and shot 55 percent in bouncing back from a 98-67 loss to Ashland the previous night.
“We did a really good job of getting our minds right after taking one on the chin,” Groves said.
Young Chesapeake (36) hung with the Red Devils for most of the first half, thanks to lefty-shooting guard Cole Mills’ three early treys.
“He has a good, solid stroke and we lost him a few times,” Groves said. “We didn’t know a whole lot about him coming in. We had to adjust and guarded him better in the second and third quarters.”
Up 27-25 midway through the second quarter, Russell got back-to-back 3-pointers from Miller. Hale followed with a floater from the lane. The Red Devils (5-10) took an eight-point advantage to the locker room and opened the third quarter with baskets from Rose, Chaz Whitt and Hale.
The margin reached 22 points on Hale’s two free throws with 4:36 remaining.
Mills hit a couple of late 3-balls and paced the Panthers with 25 points. Freshman post player Eli Archer sat out a chunk of the first half with foul trouble, but came back strong to score 19.
CHESAPEAKE 17 10 14 15 — 56 RUSSELL 20152114—70
Chesapeake (56) — Harless 1, C. Mills 25, Hutchinson 3, Jackson 6, Archer 19, Layne 2, Walsh, Dearth, J. Mills, N. Cox, J. Cox. PF: 11. Fouled out: None. 3-point FGs: 7 (C. Mills 6, Jackson). Turnovers: 21.
Russell (56) — Hale 20, Jachimczuk 10, Whitt 6, Rose 9, Clark 11, Miller 10, Fannin, Bechtel 2, Devereaux, Downs 2, Goodman, Conley, Cantrell. PF: 16. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: 16.
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