ASHLAND — For Lexington’s Cade Stover and Ben Vore, Friday’s 59-48 win over Ashland proved to be a costly one.
Stover left about a pint of blood at Arrow Arena. Vore lost something more.
Lexington’s senior standouts were involved in a nasty collision late in the first quarter after Stover made a spin move into the paint on his way to the basket. Ohio’s Mr. Football left the floor with blood pouring from his head. Vore, a University of Cincinnati baseball signee, followed his teammate to the locker room moments later with blood streaming from his mouth after breaking a tooth in the clash. He did not return.
“His tooth was actually in my head,” said Stover, who scored 16 of his game-high 18 points and grabbed 12 of his game-best 14 rebounds after receiving stitches to close the wound. “He was banged up pretty good. He was a lot worse off than I was.”
Stover only recently had stitches removed from the same area after catching an inadvertent elbow from teammate Austin Basham during practice.
“Ben had a broken tooth and didn’t know where it was and Stover said, ‘Here it is,’ ” Lex coach Scott Hamilton said. “It was literally still stuck in his head.
“They stitched up ‘Stove’ and got him to where he could come back out, but Ben went straight to the emergency room.”
The scary collision came with 1:56 remaining in the first quarter and Lexington (5-3, 2-1) trailing 13-11. The Minutemen would go on a 15-0 run after the lengthy stoppage and outscored the Arrows (3-3, 2-2) 18-2 in the second quarter to grab a 29-15 halftime advantage.
“I don’t know what happened, if we broke rhythm or whatever,” Ashland coach Jason Hess said. “I think from the point (of the injury delay) they went on an 18-2 run. We just couldn’t find anything offensively.”
The Arrows made things interesting in the third quarter, cutting what was a 35-20 Lex lead to 38-31 on a Luke Denbow layup with 1:31 remaining. A pair of Garrett Denbow free throws a minute later made it 40-33, but Ashland would get no closer.
Lex led 42-33 going to the fourth quarter and built the lead to 57-39 on a pair of Stover free throws with 3:54 to play. Ashland’s Mitch Heilman hit back-to-back 3-pointers, but the damage already had been done.
“A lot of blood and sweat went into this win tonight,” Hamilton said. “We knew what they were capable of doing, putting a lot of points on the board, so we stressed to our guys it had to start on the defensive end.
“They battled back, but we hung in there.”
Jacob Depperschmidt backed Stover with 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting. The senior point guard connected on four 3-pointers. Kyle Johnston added seven points.
Garrett Denbow led Ashland with 16 points and nine rebounds. Heilman had 10 points, while Luke Denbow added eight points and Klejhan Randleman had seven points and seven boards.
Ashland hosts Clyde on Saturday while Lexington visits Ontario.
As for Stover, the Ohio State football recruit was more concerned about Vore than his own well being.
“Not having Ben out there with us really hurts. He does so much for our team,” said Stover, who had to switch jerseys after the injury but plans to wear his traditional No. 32 against the Warriors. “We miss him, but we want to make sure he is healthy before he comes back.”