ASHLAND — Ashland looked like a team hitting its stride.
Mansfield Senior, meanwhile, is still trying to find its way.
Ashland’s big three of Luke Denbow, Eli White and Grayson Steury combined for 69 points as the Arrows battered the Tygers 87-44 in Ohio Cardinal Conference action Friday at Arrow Arena.
The 43-point loss was the worst for the Tygers in coach Marquis Sykes’ three-plus seasons in charge and the most lopsided since a 72-28 setback to Park Tudor, Indiana at the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic in 2015.
“They’re a young team and … game experience definitely was in our favor tonight. Not only with the experience we had coming back from a year ago but also with having 10 games under our belt this year,” Ashland coach Jason Hess said. “Unfortunately for them, they were unable to practice for three weeks. They’re basically three weeks into the season where we’re two-and-a-half months into the season. It’s definitely an uphill battle for them.
“I know coach Sykes will do a great job and get those guys ready to go. They’re going to be playing a lot better basketball when we see them the second time around.”
Sykes was unavailable for comment. He was still addressing his team in the visitor’s locker room more than 30 minutes after the conclusion of game.
Ashland (9-2, 4-1) stormed to a 29-10 first-quarter lead and never looked back. Senior High (1-2, 1-1) trailed 8-6 after a Shad Creamer 3-pointer with 5:10 remaining before the Arrows closed the quarter on a 21-4 run. White scored 13 of his 22 points in the quarter, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer off a Denbow assist.
“I knew the time was going down and I had to get it up,” White said of his buzzer-beater. “I almost knew it was going in right when I released it. I’m just glad Luke realized the situation.”
Denbow flirted with a triple-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds while handing out seven assists. Steury led the Arrows with 25 points while Luke Jurjevic had nine points and swiped a game-high 16 rebounds.
Ashland outrebounded the Tygers by a whopping 44-28 margin. The Arrows swiped 15 offensive rebounds to Senior High’s 11 and scored 16 second-chance points.
“Those are areas we had as keys to the game, rebounding the basketball. That’s been a trademark of their program for years,” Hess said. “I didn’t expect it to be in our favor as much as it was. We were just hoping to keep it close to even.”
The Arrows connected on 33 of 62 field goals and knocked down 14-of-31 3-pointers. Ashland had 16 assists on 33 field goals.
Anthony Pearson led the Tygers with 10 points. Creamer added nine while Myles Bradley chipped in seven.