HUNTINGTON – Tug Valley may just be a small Class A school from rural Mingo County. But on Tuesday night they went to the city of Huntington and showed they are one of the best teams in the state regardless of classification.
The Panthers smacked the Highlanders 69-55 to wind up their regular season at 19-3.
Tug Valley, ranked No. 1 in the small school’s class, won the AA title last year. Many thought they could have won the Triple A championship. Even though they lost some players off of last year’s team due to graduation, the Panthers have continued to excel this season.
They dominated the Class AAA No. 9 Highlanders (14-6) at their own gym. This past Saturday they defeated Triple A Logan.
“They kicked our butts,” HHS coach Ron Hess told a Huntington newspaper. “It’s troubling anytime you get beat like that, but here we are at the end of the year and you think that you’re peaking, we’ve got to get back in here tomorrow and get back to work.”
The Panthers came out with guns blazing, jumping to a 23-9 lead over the Highlanders by the end of the first quarter.
“I think our ability to get out quick on them really set the tone for us,” said Tug Valley coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson.
Tug Valley forced some early turnovers that led to some easy baskets for the Panthers. Tug Valley was in control early and never looked back.
“We have three great guards in Mikey Newsome, Austin Brewer and Aaron Muncy,” Thompson added.
Brewer dished out 13 assists for the Panthers. Thompson said he was his team was able to get some passes down low to low post players Thomas Baisden and Corey Dillon for easy shots.
Once again Newsome led the Panthers in scoring with 17 points. Dillon had 13 points, while Baisden banked in 12. Brewer and Hayden Sturgell each added eight points, while Muncy chipped in seven.
Tug Valley’s fans outnumbered Huntington High’s by about a 2-1 margin, even though the game was played on the Highlanders home court.
The Panthers played their JV players for the final minutes of the game.
Anthony Meadows led the Highlanders with 12 points.
Arick Nicks scored 10 points for HHS.
Score by quarters:
TVHS … 23 18 12 16 -69
HHS … 9 10 10 24 - 55
Tug Valley - Newsome 17, Dillon 13, Baisden 12, Brewer 8, Sturgill 8, Muncy 7, S. Marcum 2, Copley 2.
Huntington - Meadows 12, Nicks 10, Dunn-Martin 6, Tubbs 8, Pennington 7, Miller 5, Howard 4, Demoss 2, Wooding 1.