NAUGATUCK – The Tug Valley played the first of three games in three nights Thursday night at home as they hosted the Belfry Pirates. The Panther had lost to their local rival earlier in the season.
But on this night it was all Tug Valley as they jumped out early and kept the peddle to the medal beating the visitors 80-52.
Tug led 26-11 after the first quarter and 43-27 at the half. The Panthers had balanced scoring in the first half as Thomas Baisden and Mikey Newsome scored 11 points in the half, while Austin Brewer had nine and Aaron Muncy eight.
The Panthers came out with full-court pressure and forced some early turnovers. Belfry committed 14 miscues in the first half.
“We got off to a good start and we got some good transition baskets,” TVHS coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson said. “We were pretty active there in the first half.”
“What can you say about Austin, he played like the all-stater he is,” Thompson said. “I thought Aaron had one of his best games. Thomas has been consistent and had been scoring in double figures. Mikey is shooting the ball real well.”
“They were good,” Belfry coach Randy Casey said, “and we weren’t.”
“They shot the ball real well and you can’t make that many turnovers against a good team,” Casey said of the early turnovers that plagued the Pirates. “We just have to go back to practice and get ready for our next game with Sheldon Clark.”
Brewer, the senior point guard, dished out 11 assists, nine in the first half. He finished with 13 points including a slam dunk in the second half. That is another double-double by the smooth ball-handling Brewer.
One negative for the Panthers was at the free throw line. They only made 8-22 at the charity stripe for 36 percent. However, Tug Valley made 33-54 from the floor for a blazing 61 percent, including 6-13 from behind the arc.
Belfry was 11-21 at the foul line for 52 percent and 18-47 from the floor for 39 percent. The Pirates were only 5-16 from 3-point land. They finished with 20 turnovers.
Both coaches cleared their benches in the final quarter. Tug Valley led 72-37 with 6:09 left in the game.
One bright spot for Belfry was big Tony Messer who scored his 1,000th career point in the contest. He finished with 16 points. Bret Charles and Garrett Fannin were next with eight points each.
Newsome took game high scoring honors by swishing in 22 points, while Baisden finished with 16 and Brewer 13. Muncy finished with 10, while Corey Dillon added six for Tug Valley. Newsome was 4-8 from 3-point range.
The Panthers, ranked No. 2 in the state in Class A, hosted Mingo Central Friday night and travel to Greater Beckley Christian Saturday night for a big sectional game. The Beckley game will have a huge bearing on the upcoming seeding for the sectional tourney.
Score by quarters:
BHS … 11 16 10 15 – 52
TVHS .. 26 17 21 16 – 80
Belfry (10-7) - Charles 8, Robinson 4, Hurley 4, Messer 16, West 5, Fannin 8, Isom 3, Dotson 2, Willis 2.
Tug Valley (13-3) - T. Baisden 16, Dillon 6, Muncy 10, Newsome 22, Brewer 13, Sturgill 2, White 3, Copley 2, Hager 2, Marcum 4.