Civitas News Service
MAN — The Man High School boys’ basketball team made a better show this time against Tug Valley but still lost to the Class A defending state champion Panthers, 76-63, on Tuesday night at the Man Memorial Fieldhouse.
Tug Valley, which routed Man 78-33 recently at Naugatuck, improved to 11-4 on the season. The Panthers won all three meetings with the Hillbillies last season en route to their second straight state title.
Man lost its second game in a row and fell to 8-9.
The Billies committed 29 turnovers in the game.
It ended up being the difference.
“We challenged them to go out and play hard and aggressive and they did, but the 29 turnovers killed us and a lot of them were unforced,” Man coach Harvey Arms said.
The Billies were led by double-double performance of Jake Adkins, who finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Kenny Joe Adkins tallied 14 points and sank four 3-pointers. John Thomas Keffer netted 11 for Man while Gabby Brown and freshman center Daniel Buchanon had eight points apiece. Buchanon also hauled down nine rebounds before fouling out. Erik Files chipped in with five points.
Thomas Baisden led Tug Valley with a 23-point effort. Calvin Blankenship had 17, while Kyle Newsome had 12 and Austin Baisden 11. Hayden Sturgill scored seven and Aaron Copley netted four for the Panthers.
Tug Valley led 19-16 after one quarter, 36-32 at the half and 51-46 after three. A 25-17 fourth quarter by the Panthers put the game away.
Man was 23-for-51 shooting for the game for a respectable 45 percent. The Panthers were 30-for-71 from the floor for 42 percent.
Tug Valley was 14-for-23 from the free throw line for 61 percent. Man made 11-of-17 of its charity tosses for 61 percent. Man out-rebounded TVHS 31-19.
Man got on the scoreboard first with an inside-the-paint shot by Buchanon at the 7:44 mark.
The Panthers then went on a 9-0 run, led by Austin Baisden, to make it 9-2 with 5:34 to play in the first quarter.
The Billies cut the margin to a single point at 10-9 with a 3-pointer by Kenny Joe Adkins and a runner in the lane by Keffer with 4:54 to play in quarter number one.
Baisden then scored on a fast break layup off the glass with 1:10 on the clock. Kenny Joe Adkins hit his second 3-ball to cut the margin to 19-16 at the end of the first period.
Man took the lead back on yet another 3-pointer by Kenny Joe Adkins to put the Billies on top 21-19 with 7:25 to play until halftime.
The Panthers would then take a four-point lead midway into the period at 29-25 after a basket by Blankenship and two free throws by Newsome.
Man battled to take the lead back at 30-29 on a floater in the lane by Keffer with 2:26 to play until the half. Tug Valley went on a 5-0 run in the final two minutes to take a 36-32 advantage heading into the locker room.
Kenny Joe Adkins then hit a jumper to cut the Panther lead to a single point at 38-37 with 4:50 on the clock.
Brown later scored on a layup to give Man the lead at 41-40 with 3:05 to go.
Man then committed back-to-back unforced turnovers as the Panthers capitalized, taking a five-point lead, 46-41, with 1:49 left.
Jake Adkins followed with a basket to trim the Panthers’ lead to 49-46 with 38 ticks to go in the third.
The Panthers then got a tip in at the buzzer to take a 51-46 lead after three.
Man then received a big blow to start the fourth quarter of play as Buchanon fouled out with 7:32 left.
With the 6-4 Buchanon out, Tug Valley then started to pound the basketball inside against the much small Billies.
TVHS took a 59-51 lead on a steal and an old fashioned three-point play by Newsome with 5:45 to play, forcing Coach Arms to take a time out.
The Panthers continued to force the ball inside and built on their lead with baskets by Baisden and Blankenship to take a commanding 63-51 lead with 4:51 remaining.
Kenny Joe Adkins then hit his fourth 3-pointer, slicing the deficit to under 10 points at 63-54 with 4:26 left.
Copley then hit two free throws for the Panthers to make it 67-56 with 2:56 to play.
Files hit two free throws to cut the Panther lead to 68-61 with 1:01 left in the game, but the Panthers hit their free throws in the final minute to come away with the 13-point win and series sweep over the sectional rival Billies.
Tug Valley is scheduled to return to action on Friday at home against sectional foe Greater Beckley Christian. The Panthers then go to Logan on Saturday night.
The Panthers host county rival Mingo Central on Feb. 18, then host Valley Fayette on Feb. 21 before hosting Logan on Feb. 22 in the second meeting between the two teams. The finale is Feb. 25 at Mingo Central.
Man has five games left to play in the regular season. The Billies were slated to play at Belfry, Ky., on Wednesday night. Man goes to Mount View on Friday night and then plays Belfry again on Feb. 18 at home.
The Billies travel to Huntington St. Joe on Feb. 21 and close out Feb. 25 at home against Chapmanville.
Score by quarters:
Tug Valley - 19 17 15 25 - 76
Man High - 16 16 14 17 – 63
Tug Valley (76) – Newsome 12, Copley 4, Sturgell 7, A. Baisden 11, Blankenship 17, T. Baisden 23, Ooten 2.
Man (63) – Keffer 13, K. Adkins 14, Files 5, Brown 8, Ja. Adkins 15, Jo. Adkins 2, Buchanon 6.