NAUGATUCK – Tug Valley is known for scoring points, but on Friday night it was their tenacious defense that made the difference. The Panthers defeated No. 6 ranked Greater Beckley Christian (GBC) 72-47 in front of a standing room only crowd packed into the TVHS gym at Naugatuck.
The win gave Tug Valley another title, the Class A, Region 3, Section 1 crown.
Tug Valley, ranked No. 1 in Class A, came out pressing and led 6-0 in the blink of an eye. The Panthers forced 10 early turnovers, many of those turned into scores on transition baskets.
Coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson went to his bench early to bring in sophomore Hayden Sturgell.
“I thought Hayden came in and gave us a boost on defense and we went on a little run,” Thompson said. “If we get a lead – we can score in transition. We can also run our sets if we need to.”
“I thought Aaron (Muncy) and Mikey (Newsome) made a couple of good shots early in the game. We were able to relax and play our game. We got into a rhythm – and we’re moving on,” Thompson said.
This was Tug Valley’s 31st straight home victory. That string could continue as they host Valley of Fayette in the Class A, Region 3 championship Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Tug Valley led 38-21 at the half . Newsome had 11 first half points, while Austin Brewer and Thomas Baisden each scored eight. Keith Mullens led GBC with 12 in the first half.
GBC chipped into the lead at 46-30, but that was about as close as they would come. Tug Valley just kept it coming. Brewer’s dribble penetration and dishes to his teammates for easy baskets almost looked too easy. Brewer dished out 13 assists. The senior point guard just missed a triple-double pulling down eight rebounds.
Tug led 56-35 after three quarters and 62-43 with 4:10 left in the game. Thompson cleared his bench late in the final quarter and the home crowd gave the starters a standing ovation as they left the court.
Baisden led the Panthers with 18 points, Newsome finished with 17, Muncy 13 and Brewer 10. Corey Dillon added four, Austin Baisden two and Ethan Hager two.
Mullens led GBC with 20 points, while Javonne Staunton-Bailey scored 14. The Crusaders are coached by Dan Burd, a former local pastor at Chattaroy. While living in the area, Burch coached the old Mingo Christian school basketball team. He is assisted at GBC by former Beckley coach Dave Barksdale.
Tug Valley made 32-61 from the field for 52 percent and they were 6-13 at the free throw line for 46 percent. They held GBC to 35 percent shooting on 15-43 shots. The Beckley squad was 13-22 from the charity stripe for 59 percent.
Tug Valley is now just one win away from heading back to the state tournament in Charleston.
Tickets at the door for Thursday night’s regional game with Valley of Fayette will cost $7 at the door, according to TVHS Athletic Director Tony Clusky. This is the price set by the SSAC. Advance tickets for students will cost $5 and will be on sale later in the week at the school.
Score by quarters:
GBC …. 10 11 14 12 - 47
TVHS … 20 18 18 16 - 72
Greater Beckley Christian - Staunton 16, Cook 2, Daniels 2, Mullins 20, Helton 7.
Tug Valley - Hager 2, Muncy 13, Sturgell 6, A. Baisden 2, Newsome 17, Brewer 10, T. Baisden 18, Dillon 4.