‘A perfect marriage’: Carroll Ashburn and Demetrius Means reflect on 25 years of basketball broadcasting together in Northern Neck

Sports

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — For 25 years, the partnership of Carroll Ashburn and Demetrius Means was the voice of high school basketball in the Northern Neck.

Now that Ashburn is retiring, the two reflected on their time together, which includes five state championship games involving three local schools.

It all started when Means’ wife was assistant principal at Lancaster High School.

“I was actually standing in the doorway watching the game and this gentleman tapped me from behind and says, ‘How do you know so much about the game?’ And he asked me to come up and analyze the game,” Means said.

That man was WKWI-FM owner and general manager Tom Davis, although Ashburn needed some convincing after that first broadcast.

“So I went back to the station and I said, ‘Tom, this is not going to work! It’s not gonna happen!’,” Ashburn laughed.

“It turned out to be a beautiful marriage. It was just a perfect combination. As you say, it fit like a glove.”

Ashburn’s Southern charm and Means’ New York City flavor were a perfect blend.

“For me, it was like magic from the first game,” Means said. “Carroll let me be me in terms of, I’m the basketball analyst, he’s the play-by-play guy and he allowed me to do my thing as an analyst. He also allowed me to add some things into our broadcasts to make them better.”

The two had plenty of memorable moments during the last quarter-century of broadcasts.

“We actually survived a riot,” Ashburn said. “We couldn’t get out of the way, so I decided to broadcast it, so we broadcast the riot. And I’m just saying, ‘There’s a cell phone there across the floor’ and we actually were up for an award for that.”

Means circled a game where there actually wasn’t much scoring at all.

“Northumberland High School played against Washington & Lee High School and Northumberland held the ball for the whole first half,” Means said.

“The halftime score was 3-0. The kid from Northumberland hit a three-point shot to end the first half and they would go into halftime. But the strategy that the coach used was so great that it caused the other team to come right out of their game.”

Means still plans to continue broadcasting, with the goal of a national interview show.

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