The Ashland Tomcats (20-0) are the only remaining undefeated team in Kentucky. They are led by sophomore Cole Villers and freshman Colin Porter. Porter, who played for Elliott County last season, is one of the top players in the state in the class of 2023. Ashland has several impressive wins this season. In December, they defeated Louisville Butler in the Ashland Invitational Tournament Championship game. On January 7, they got revenge over Louisville Trinity 50-43. Last year, Trinity knocked Ashland out of the Sweet 16 quarterfinals 60-30 on their way to the state championship. Trinity was led by UofL’s David Johnson.
Only two teams have ever won the state championship with a perfect record, Ashland in 1928 and Brewers in 1948. The 1928 Ashland team defeated Carr Creek 13-11 in four overtimes in one of the most famous state championship games of all time. Last year, John Hardin entered the state tournament undefeated but fell to Campbell County in the opening round. John Hardin is 22-1 so far this season.
Ashland is tied for third all-time in state championships, with four. Their most recent championship came in 1961 when Larry Conley was playing for the Tomcats. Conley went on to play for Kentucky and was a starter on the beloved “Rupp’s Runts.”
Last year, Ashland finished with a losing regular season record, but had a key player return from injury late in the season and got on a roll in the postseason. Their toughest remaining regular season test will likely come at Rowan County on February 11. The two teams could meet again in the 16th region tournament.