The crowd was packed into the gym at Tug Valley like sardines on Tuesday night for the Panthers game with Mingo Central.
It reminded me of the old days when passionate fans crowded into local venues for a heated rivalry. Like the Williamson-Logan games, or on a local level, the Lenore-Kermit games and many other schools throughout the region.
You know when the fans are cheering for the JV game, then you know the followers for both teams are gearing up for the main event.
During warm-ups, the fans were even cheering as the cheerleaders from Tug Valley and Mingo Central were flipping up and down the gym floor. They were doing handsprings and back flips, obviously trying to show each other up, which added fuel to the fire to get the crowd going on both sides of the gym.
But that’s what it’s all about. Too many times these last few years I’ve went to games with just a handful of supporters in attendance.
It was good to see so much enthusiasm and excitement for a local high school hoops contest. The game was sloppy with a lot of turnovers, but it was good to see that much energy and atmosphere at a game again.
If you missed it, you’ll have another chance to experience the atmosphere as Mingo Central will host Tug Valley Tuesday, Feb. 25, for the rematch.
NOTES FROM THE GAME:
Tug Valley Coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson recently became the all-time winingest coach in Panther basketball history. That’s according to my buddy Joe Kinzer, a longtime radio announcer for WXCC. He did some research and found that Thompson passed Frankie Smith with his 125th win. He now has 130 career victories at TVHS.
… Thompson would have passed it a game earlier, but Tug Valley had to forfeit its home win this season over Roane County. One of Roane’s coaches protested that a Panther player had played too many combined quarters between the JV and varsity games. Thus, if you look at the WVSSAC website, the Jan. 12 game is now listed as a 2-0 win for Roane County.
…Marshall University assistant basketball coach Mark Cline was at the game. Cline made the trip down from Huntington. His cousin, Stan Elkins, is an assistant to Thompson at TVHS. Cline was doing a little scouting.
… The only negative from the night, parking at TVHS is not good. Some cars parked over in the bottom at the football field, but that was a quagmire. I know one friend, who is an avid sports fan, got there about 7:10 p.m., but couldn’t find a parking spot. He left and listened to the game on the radio.
… A group of young ladies from local grade schools sang a nice rendition of the National Anthem before the game. They were directed by Krista Cather.
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at email@example.com or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or Twitter @KyleLovern)