It was better late than never for Bryan Station's boys' basketball team Tuesday night
The Defenders' game with Madison Central started 35 minutes late, then the hosts couldn't find their stride until midway through the first quarter and fell behind 10-0.
Once 11th-rated Bryan Station got rolling, though, it had enough momentum to get past No. 21 Madison Central 75-65.
Charles Ashford provided the spark for the Defenders. The 6-foot-2 senior had 19 points in the first half, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer, to rally his team to a 40-32 lead.
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After Madison Central went back ahead in the fourth quarter, Ashford helped to fuel a 12-1 run that pushed Bryan Station in front 72-60.
That was the difference in a fast-paced matchup between 11th Region rivals.
Ashford finished with 34 points, twice his average and one point shy of his career high. He also had five rebounds, four assists and four steals.
He got his points every way possible, hitting three-pointers, pull-up jumpers, fast-break layups, and aggressively taking it to the rim and either converting or getting to the foul line.
Champ Ligon said his Defenders needed more production from Ashford because starting guard Montell Morones was out sick.
"We had to rely heavily on Charles, and he did a great job keeping himself composed late in the game," Ligon said.
"He took it to the rack when his legs got tired, and finished it off at the free-throw line."
Ashford, who hit nine of 12 foul shots, likes to think his strong suit is taking his man off the dribble and attacking the rim.
"I try to make that the best part of my game because the jumper isn't always falling," he said. "And it's good to mix it up and confuse the defense."
Bryan Station also got 11 points from Cameron Richardson, who struggled with early foul trouble. Jeremiah Mabson had six points and nine rebounds.
Madison Central was without one of its leading scorers, too, after Terry Jarvis suffered a bloody nose early in the game and never returned.
Vince Clay led the Indians with 26 points, more than double his average. Jaquentin Jenkins had 11 points and nine rebounds. Eighth-grader Dominique Hawkins added eight points.
Allen Feldhaus' team could have kept it closer in the fourth quarter but it missed seven of nine foul shots during one stretch. It hit 22 of 36 for the night.
The Indians, whose tallest player is 6-2, were outrebounded 43-29, and outscored in the paint 46-24.
"They don't have size, but they have good ball-handlers, good shooters and good coaching," Ligon said.
"They'll be a tough out for anybody, so this was a nice win for us."
bryan station 75, madison central 65
MADISON CENTRAL (10-3) — Simpson 1-5 5-9 7, Clay 6-16 8-11 26, Jenkins 5-8 1-4 11, Minter 0-1 2-3 2, Jarvis 1-1 0-0 2, Mays 1-4 1-2 3, Covington 2-3 2-2 6, 4-5 0-0 Hawkins 8, Smith 0-1 0-2. Totals 20-44 22-36 65.
BRYAN STATION (10-2) — Ashford 11-25 9-12 34, Richardson 4-14 1-1 11, Adams 2-2 0-0 4, Mabson 3-8 0-0 6, Smothers 3-7 0-0 6, Fain 1-9 4-4 6, Blackburn 2-2 0-0 4, Jones 2-4 0-0 4, Waite 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 28-74 14-17 75.
Madison Central 20 12 19 14—65
Bryan Station 14 26 10 25—75