The final game

Bree Gannon, Managing Editor

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historic season that started on Nov. 9, 2018 ended on March 16, 2019.

The second best start in program history. Senior forward Phil Frentsos owns the record for most games played at Ashland. Head Coach John Ellenwood reached 200 career wins.

Redshirt senior guard Ben Haraway reached 1,000 points in the purple and gold. Haraway and junior center Drew Noble were both named first-team honors. Redshirt sophomore guard Aaron Thompson earned defensive team and second-team honors.

A winning season in more than one way, ended after a 66-60 loss against No. 4 seeded Southern Indiana in the NCAA Midwest Regional Quarterfinal.

The Eagles were seeded No.5 in their second NCAA tournament appearance since 2016.

Noble and junior guard Rodrick Caldwell led the offense for the Eagles with 19 points a piece. Thompson added nine rebounds.

The game started off with a missed Ashland layup by sophomore forward Derek Koh that turned into a defensive rebound and turnover by the Screaming Eagles. It was Noble who got the first points of the game on a layup.

The Eagles held onto a 3-0 lead for two minutes before USI tipped a shot in to get on the board. The Eagles responded with jump shot from Koch to bring the Eagles up 5-2. A Screaming Eagle 3-pointer brought the game to its first tie score of 5s.

Haraway’s made free throw gave the Eagles a one point advantage before another USI 3-pointer took the lead.

Both teams held each other to a defensive stop before the Screaming Eagles broke through and turned their two point lead to six. USI lead 24-16 with 6:22 left in the half before Caldwell cut the Eagle deficit to within three on free throws.

Heading into the locker room, the Screaming Eagles led the Eagles 37-30.  In the first half, Ashland shot 41.7% from the field but were 71.4% at the charity stripe.

Personal foul trouble followed the Eagles all night long with seven fouls in the first half and 10 in the second.

“I think we got a lot of tough guys, our mentality is the next man up,” assistant coach Rob Gardiner said. “So if Aaron Thompson gets in foul trouble then Jay Slone is coming off the bench. We got a tough group of guys and they really fought hard today.”

Coming into the second half, both teams held each other to no points until Haraway made a layup with 18:53 left on the clock.

USI got ahead by 15 and took the largest lead of the game with 8:00 minutes left in the game. The Eagles responded with a 13-2 run to bring the score to 52-56 with USI having a four point lead.

With one minute left to play, the Eagles closed the gap to just three points before USI drew a foul and pulled the Screaming Eagles further ahead. The Eagles, however, were not able to cut their deficit before the final buzzer sounded.

Both teams were even with 37 rebounds but USI’s bench depth gave them 17 points while Ashland’s bench only scored five.

The season may be over for the team, but the success they have had this year will be used as a building block for their next season.

“We couldn’t be prouder. Our guys fought the whole way, the season is such a marathon you’re gonna have your ups and your downs,” Gardiner said. “The season started out hot and we ran into some little valleys there but the group really came together at the end and we couldn’t be prouder of the way they fought there at the end.”

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