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Ashland begins Southern Sky play in style

ASHLAND — Ashland's shaky December finish didn't prevent the Southern Sky Conference coaches from voting the Grizzlies the league favorites.

Neither would this: Ashland 79, Eagle Point 48.

Charlie Sebrell scored a career-high 23 points to lead a balanced offensive attack as the Grizzlies (7-6) ran over, around and through the Eagles (7-5) in the SSC opener for both teams Tuesday at Ashland Middle School.

Jamie Amrhein had 13 points and five rebounds and Ian Kendall added five points, five rebounds and five steals for the Grizzlies, who routinely turned steals into fastbreaks and fastbreaks into layups. The result: 10 Grizzlies scored, and they shot 52 percent from the floor (33-for-63) against an overmatched Eagle Point squad.

"We just find that we get frustrated in the halfcourt game and that's not our game, so you've got to coach to who your players are," Ashland coach Larry Kellems said. "These guys are thoroughbreds. You've got to let them go."

No problem there. Ashland pushed the ball from the opening tip, capitalizing on Sebrell's 13-point first quarter and a dominating rebounding effort to take a commanding 41-27 halftime lead.

The knockout blow came quickly in the third. Up 44-31, Ashland outscored Eagle Point 16-2 over the next 41/2 minutes to make it 60-33. Seven Grizzlies scored in the quarter. When it was over, so was the game, with Ashland comfortably ahead by 26.

"We didn't defend or rebound enough to give ourselves any kind of a chance," Eagle Point coach Brian Winter said. "Certainly they're deep, but the Ashland kids were tougher than us tonight. They were tougher to the ball than we were."

Especially Sebrell, a 6-foot senior who nailed a pair of 3s but did most of his damage inside while hitting 10 of 12 field goal attempts.

"The defense they gave us just kind of favored the wings," Sebrell said. "They were kind of keying on (Garrett Tygerson), which freed up a lot of other people. We just kind of took what they gave us."

Eagle Point was led by sophomore Logan Winter, who scored 18 points, and Austin Rowley, who added 11. No other Eagle scored more than six.

Tygerson, a dynamic 6-5 forward who's still recovering from a hyperextended knee and ankle, was held to six points. The Eagles also managed to limit Ashland's other big threat, Talon Haggard, who finished with four points and seven rebounds.

EAGLE POINT (48) — Winter 18, VanDyke 3, Marlia 2, Tuttle 6, Morris 2, Holmes 6, Rowley 11, Gonzales 0, Rogers 0, Reed 0. Totals: 17 8-14 48.

ASHLAND (79) — Sebrell 23, Costantino 5, Kedall 5, Pavlich 8, Tygerson 6, Amrhein 13, Resch 9, Schwartzer 2, Hanson 4, Haggard 4. Totals: 33 6-13 79.

Eagle Point 17 10 9 12 — 48

Ashland 26 15 21 17 — 79

3-point goals — Eagle Point 6 (Winter 4 VanDyke 1, Rowley 1), Ashland 7 ( Sebrell 2, Pavlich 2, Amrhein 1, Costantino 1).

JV score — Ashland 64, Eagle Point 40.

Eagle Point’s Austin Rowley (44) attempts a shot between Ashland defenders Jamie Amrhein (25) and Talon Haggard (45) during Tuesday’s SSC game in Ashland.