Denbow Drive

Ashland's Garrett Denbow shoots over Ontario's Jayden Jacobs and Ethan Keller during the 419 Challenge at the O-Rena.

ASHLAND — Garrett Denbow and his Ashland teammates are playing with confidence, which is bad news for the rest of the Ohio Cardinal Conference.

The Richland Bank Athlete of the Week, Denbow scored 46 points in a pair of wins over the weekend. He dropped 25 in a 73-56 victory over Mount Vernon on Friday and added 21 in Saturday’s 78-63 win over Ontario in the 419 Challenge.

“It’s amazing when you see the ball go through the hoop the first time,” Ashland coach Jason Hess said. “Then you get a little more bounce in you step.

“You’d like to think you could find that energy even if the ball isn’t going in the hoop, but that is the nature of the game.”

A 6-foot-5 senior, Denbow scored 18 point in the first half Friday against the Yellow Jackets. The Arrows scored 40 first-half points.

“We came out with a lot of energy and got a lot of good shots offensively,” Denbow said. “We shared the ball really well. We got it into the paint and kicked it out to open shooters.”

What’s more, Denbow had plenty of help over the weekend. On Friday, Mitch Heilman backed Denbow with 22 points. On Saturday, Klejhan Randleman led the charge with 22 points, while Denbow and Heilman each had 21.

Ashland has scored 70 or more points in each of its past two games after managing no more than 60 in any of its first three contests. The Arrows already have surpassed last year’s win total.

“Our chemistry is a lot better this year,” Denbow said. “We have spent a lot of time together off the court and that is showing up on the floor.”

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If Hess has one concern, it’s his team’s lack of depth. Ashland got good productivity from its bench bunch on both Friday and Saturday.

“We’re not a real deep team,” Hess said. “We try to rotate them the best we can but it’s one of those years where we’re playing with eight guys.”

As for Denbow, he was pleased with the bench’s performance.

“They brought a lot of energy,” Denbow said. “It doesn’t always show up in the scoring column, but they are doing things to help us win.”

The Arrows (3-2, 2-1) will need to be at their best this weekend. Ashland hosts Lexington (4-3, 1-1) on Friday in a key OCC game before welcoming Clyde (4-3) to Arrows Arena on Saturday to close out the 2018 portion of the schedule.

“We’re playing well right now,” Hess said. “I think we are starting to find our stride.”

I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at curt@richlandsource.com or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.

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