4A boys’ basketball: Hillcrest gets even closer to elusive state championship

First Published      Last Updated Mar 02 2017 09:17 pm

Ogden • Over three decades have passed since Hillcrest has won a boys' basketball championship, but one more step to ending that drought was taken Thursday afternoon.

Hillcrest fought off an upset-minded Highland squad 59-47 behind the talents of the Ashby brothers, the presence of a big man in the middle and some invaluable contributions from some role players.

Brox Ashby, a 14-year-old freshman, paced Hillcrest with 17 points. Older brother Stockton Ashby, a senior, ended with 13 points as the two took turns staving off Highland.

With the Huskies (17-6) up by five, Stockton Ashby — on a feed from junior McKay Ashby — slammed home a dunk and followed with another score for a 30-21 lead midway through the third quarter.

Brox Ashby got a field goal and then a 3-pointer for a 38-29 lead at the end of the the third after the Rams (13-12) had trimmed the margin to four.

Brox Ashby was the primary ball-handler as Highland had to foul in an attempt to rally. He made 7 of 8 free throws, but the closest the Rams could get was six points.

John Villanueva, Hillcrest's senior big man in the middle, helped thwart Highland's inside threats while scoring nine points and grabbing seven rebounds. Stockton Ashby, who his younger brother confirmed also is named after Utah Jazz great John Stockton like Copper Hills' Stockton Shorts, also grabbed eight rebounds.

The leader on the boards however was guard Karris Davis, who grabbed nine.

"It's always tough to lose," said Highland junior Trayton Keyes, who had eight points. "They're good at rebounding. They play hard and go to the boards. They just do what needs to be done."

For Huskies coach Samuel Richins, that extended throughout his roster, down to two-point scorer Josh Katzenbach.

"He never gets on the stat sheet, but he plays everybody's best player on defense," Richins said about his senior guard. "We call him 'The Tapeworm' because he just gets inside of you. This second half of the season, we discovered that he just doesn't wear out — and he can go all night on a big, a guard, it doesn't matter."



Hillcrest 59, Highland 47

R The Huskies, whose last championship was in 1980, were led by freshman Brox Ashby’s 17 points while senior Stockton Ashby tossed in 13.

» Highland got 18 points from guard Charlie Gochnour, one of two seniors on the Rams’ roster.