Boys’ Basketball Preview - 64th District



James Collier

The Ashland Beacon



RECORD: 22-5

HEAD COACH: Jason Mays (4th)

SEASON ENDED: Sweet 16 Final Four (66-50 L, Highlands)

RETURNING STARTERS: Cole Villers, Colin Porter, Ethan Sellars, Zander Carter. 

   Ashland’s season started and ended in the same fashion, with a loss to Highlands. 

   Regardless of the outcome, the Tomcats made another remarkable run after COVID-19 cancelled their trip to the 2020 Sweet 16 while interrupting a shot at perfection. Still, the Tomcats were fueled by a backcourt of Colin Porter, Cole Villers and Ethan Sellars and all return this season for another run toward a shot at a Sweet 16 Championship. 

   Villers paced the Tomcats with 22.7 points a game while snagging 5.1 rebounds. He also shot an 84.7% clip from the free throw line and co-led the team from long range shooting by hitting 43.7% of his triple attempts. 

   Porter is the straw that stirs the drink for Ashland and his ability to get to the rim at will, makes everyone else around him better. Porter netted 17.8 a game from his point guard position and registered several double doubles with assists numbering 10 or more. 

   Sellars rounds out the scoring triple threat with a deadeye from beyond the arc. He shot 43.7% from downtown last season and averaged 13.5 points a game. 

   Ashland returns Zander Carter to the mix who averaged 5.5 a game. Ryan Atkins tossed in 4.3 off the bench. Tucker Conway, Asher Adkins and Tristin Davis will look for expanded rolls this season and transfers Ricky Padron and James Mayor will battle for significant playing time. Padron was a standout on the gridiron for the Tomcats this season and Mayor played in 18 games for Bath County last season. Nate Frieze is out with an injury suffered during preseason.

   Ashland presents another formidable schedule this season with hopes of being battle tested by the time postseason play arrives. The Tomcats travel to Marshall County for the Marshall County Hoopfest on Dec. 3-4, travel to Fairdale before Christmas for the King of the Bluegrass and plays host to the annual AIT on Dec. 28-30. Ashland welcomes Pikeville, Highlands, Bardstown, Covington Catholic, George Washington, WV and Ironton all after the turn of the new year.    



RECORD: 15-10

HEAD COACH: Randy Anderson (12th)

SEASON ENDED: Region Semifinals (60-45 L, Rowan County)



Rheyce Deboard, 

Brad Newsome, 

Jason Ellis

   Boyd County has a monumental task this season after having seven seniors depart the program last year. 

   However, the Lions return three players to the court who played key roles for their squad and contributed on both ends of the floor. Rheyce Deboard led the Lions with 14.2 points a game and was the only Boyd County player to average double figures. He once again will run the point while slashing to the rim at any given chance. 

   Brad Newsome elected to return as a senior and brings leadership to the floor and locker room. Newsome averaged 7.3 points a game last season. Jason Ellis averaged 5.1 points and 4.9 rebounds as a freshman—second best on the team— and looks to fill a void on the glass where the Lions need it the most. Boyd County only averaged 31.1 boards a night last season with their leading rebounding gone to graduation.

   Tyler Jackson and Ace Taylor will see expanded roles and Anderson will tout a youthful group that has shown a tremendous amount of success coming up through the program. Cole Hicks, Rhett Holbrook, Clay Robertson, Jacob Spurlock, Griffin Taylor and Jacob Vanover all will see time of the floor for the Lions. 

   Boyd County has a strong schedule anchored by a matchup with Rowan County in the Boyd County Roundball Classic, games with Knox Central and Henderson County in the Stock Yards Bank & Trust Challenge at Rowan County and a member of the AIT after Christmas. Boyd County plays home-and-home with Johnson Central, East and West Carter and Montgomery County. 



RECORD: 7-20

HEAD COACH: Roger Newton (2nd)

SEASON ENDED: District Tournament Opening Round (74-46 L, Boyd County)

RETURNING STARTERS: Jaxon Manning, Cody Caldwell, Steven Day, Tanner Johnson

   Fairview coach Roger Newton did everything he could to keep his team on the court last year in a COVID-19 shortened year. Regardless of the venue, Newton wanted his youthful and inexperience club on the floor gaining valuable minutes of varsity action. 

   Fast forward one year and Newton hopes his diligence paid off with a returning cast of nearly everyone who saw meaningful minutes for the Eagles. 

   Newton is looking for another breakout season from Jaxon Manning who averaged 23.1 points a game last season. Manning’s style of play often rewarded him free throws and he connected on 79.2% of his 245 attempts. 

   Steven Day provided a solid scoring option for the Eagles with 9.8 a game while leading the team in rebounding with five boards a night. Cody Caldwell averaged 5.4 points a game but his biggest asset to the team was his defense, often drawing the best scorer on the opposing team. 

   Tanner Johnson returns after an injury sidelined him only 10 games in last season. He was averaging just under 10 points a game. Jeremy Harper and Camron Mitchell will both see an expanded role for the team. 

   Fairview meets Robertson County on Dec. 18 in the Stock Yards Bank & Trust Challenge at Rowan County then travels to Gatlinburg, TN for three games in the Smoky Mountain Christmas Classic before the holiday. Fairview squares off against Menifee County on Jan. 8 in the All “A” Classic at West Carter. 



RECORD: 7-20

HEAD COACH: Charles Wilcoxen (1st)

SEASON ENDED: District Tournament Opening Round (72-43 L, Ashland)

 RETURNING STARTERS: Chase Pennington, Luke Pennington 

   The Royals have a new coach this season with hopes of making positive strives forward following a seven-win season. 

   The biggest challenge for the Royals is only two returners are back and most of its offensive leaders are gone.

   Chase Pennington netted 8.6 a game last year while leading the team with seven boards a night. He is one of three seniors this season and is the leading scorer from the players returning from last season. Luke Pennington played in all 27 games last season while averaging only 1.9 a contest. 

   Rose Hill meets Bath County in the Boyd County Roundball Classic on Dec. 11 and Elliott County on Jan. 8 at West Carter in the All “A” Classic. The Royals play a pair of contests with Teays Valley Christian, Hannah, WV and Covenant Christian, WV.