Blue Devils dominate Houlka, look to repeat as champions

Jackson- Ashland squeaked out a win in their quarterfinal matchup against West Lowndes. That victory lead to their third straight semifinals appearance. Their opponent, Houlka, was by no means an easy win. Houlka entered the game (26-4) on the season and feature a star in Madarius Hobson who scored 49 points in the second round against Biggersville, and 42 points along with 21 rebounds in the quarterfinals against Piney Woods. For the Blue Devils to be successful, it was necessary to stop Hobson.

Ashland has a star of their own in DeAnthony Tipler, who exploded for 11 points in the opening quarter to help establish a 22-14 lead for the Blue Devils at the end of the first quarter.

“When he gets going early like that it’s good for us. He took three’s but it was off of passes instead of having himself create his own shot, so it was more in the flow of the game,” Coach Rolley Tipler had to say about his nephew DeAnthony’s hot start.

The second quarter is where the Blue Devils put Houlka away for good. Ashland outscored Houlka 24-9 in the quarter by way of a late 8-0 run featuring six straight points from Cadarrius Crumb. Tipler knocked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Blue Devils a 23-point lead at the half.

Crumb finished the game with a career high 27 points, and seven rebounds. His play down on the block was instrumental in Ashland’s 91-64 victory over Houlka.

“I knew he always had it in him,” Coach Tipler stated.

Ashland won this game easily because how good they were offensively but also, they were able to slow down Hobson.

Hobson finished with 20 points and nine rebounds, although that is great numbers for anybody else, Hobson’s 40-point performances were a huge reason why the Wildcats were playing in the state semifinals.

“I put my best defensive guy on him, Richard Brooks. Usually when I have somebody that I need to step up and play defense it’s him,” Tipler noted.

Ashland advances to face Shaw for the Class 1A state title.

Ashland has had previous encounters with the Hawks. Starting in the 2012-13 season, Ashland was ousted by Shaw three years in a row. During last year’s state title run, Ashland never faced the Hawks on their way to the state championship. This year Ashland can pull the thorn out of the side once and for all by beating Shaw for the state championship.

Ashland has an incredible chance to win state titles in back to back years. Coach Tipler believes it is a great opportunity for this team to leave a lasting legacy.

“You don’t get this chance a lot. To have the opportunity to double up two years in a row is a special thing. I want them to do it because last year, we have not had a championship team since 1997. So, everybody always praises that team and I do to because I remember that group. But it shows how special this group is for being where they are right now.”

, ,