NAUGATUCK — Tug Valley picked up their 26th straight victory in the friendly confines of the Panthers gym at Tug Valley Friday night as they downed visiting Mingo Central 56-37.
It improved coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson’s home record at Naugatuck to 45-3 and it improved his career mark to 107-37.
The game was played in front of a packed house full of fans from both schools.
The defending Class AA state champions got off to a “sluggish start,” according to Thompson. The led 14-9 after one quarter and 25-13 at the half.
Neither team shot very well in the first half. Tug Valley, ranked No. 2 in Class A, was able to pick up the pace in the second half and outscored the Miners 31-24. They increased their lead to 20 points, 47-27, with 5:41 left in the game.
Thompson said he is not sure why his team got off to a slow start, but he gave credit to Mingo Central.
“They battled and were patient. I think sometimes when a team is patient our kids get a little frustrated. We didn’t shoot well, but our kids find a way to win ugly when they need to,” Thompson added.
Meanwhile, coach Brad Napier of Mingo Central was pleased with his team’s effort, especially on defense in the first half. The Miners just had trouble getting shots to fall.
“That is the best team on our schedule,” Napier said of Tug Valley. “We just couldn’t make a shot. We were really not trying to slow it down, but we just wanted to run our sets. I thought our kids played hard, we just didn’t make the shots.”
The Miners only made 13-47 shots for 28 percent. Mingo Central continued to struggle at the free throw line too, only making 2-9 for 22 percent. They were also very cold from 3-point range making 7-21 for 33 percent.
Austin Brewer and Thomas Baisden led the Panthers with 13 points each, while Corey Dillon added 10. Brewer, Dillon and Muncy each pulled down seven rebounds. Brewer had four assists.
Tug Valley was 8-14 at the foul line for 57 percent. The Panthers shot 23-57 from the field for 40 percent, including 2-8 behind the arc.
Austin Banks led the Miners with 12 points. Julius Hatcher chipped in six and Marqus Cunningham had five points and 11 rebounds.
Mingo Central had a game with Mt. View on Saturday night, while Tug Valley traveled to Greater Beckley Christian. Those game results will be in Tuesday’s edition of the Williamson Daily News.
Score by quarters:
MC … 9 4 9 15 - 37
TV … 14 11 15 16 – 56
Mingo Central – Banks 12, Lester 3, Hatcher 6, Cunningham 5, Lee 0, May 3, West 1, Simpkins 0, Barker 2, Hammond 0, Cline 5, Hatfield 0, Joplin 0.
Tug Valley – Brewer 13, Newsome 5, T. Baisden 13, Muncy 6, Sturgill 5, Dillon 10, A. Baisden 3, White 0, Copley 0, Marcum 0, Hager 0, K. Newsome 1.