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From left to right, Tug Valley assistant coaches Ronnie Blankenship, Curt Fletcher, head coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson, and assistant coaches Tyler Hodge, Dave “Moose” Ledger, and Dr. Jerry Mounts survey the court during a game the Panthers 87-72 win at Tolsia on March 16.

The regular seasons for the Tug Valley and Mingo Central boys’ basketball teams have come and gone as the two squads found out their seeds in their respective sectional tournaments.

The Panthers finished the regular season with a 10-2 record and are ranked No. 4 in the AP Class A Poll but were awarded the No. 2 seed for the Region 4 Section 1 Tournament, which will be played at Willie Akers Arena in Logan.

The Man Hillbillies, who are also the No. 1 ranked team in Class A, were named the No. 1 seed after they finished the season with an 11-1 mark including an 85-56 win over a then unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Tug Valley in Man on March 24.

The Logan County foe was scheduled to make the return trip to Naugatuck on Monday, April 12 but the Man coaching staff decided to cancel the remaining games on their schedule late Sunday morning, citing concerns of COVID-19 exposure.

After the loss at the ‘Billies the Panthers played a tough Westside team on the road and were handed their second loss of the season in a 74-64 defeat.

Since that loss Tug Valley has rattled off five straight wins to close out the regular season and beat their opponents by an average of 33 points per game.

The Panthers will face a tough test to start their postseason run as nearby rival Tolsia was voted in as the No. 3 seed. The Rebels finished the season with a 10-4 record and were playing their best ball to end the season as they picked up road wins at Class AAAA Huntington and Spring Valley to close out the year.

Tug Valley and Tolsia only played one time in the regular season back on March 16 in Glenhayes when the Panthers knocked off the Rebels 87-72.

Tug Valley is led by a core of five seniors and one junior who have played a lot of games as a group since they were in grade school.

Senior All-State guard Caleb May is well on his way to another First Team selection this season. The point guard is averaging 20 points a game and five assists, and three steals in 12 games.

Senior forward Easton Davis and junior big man Ethan Colegrove each average 15 points a contest while Colegrove averaged 10 rebounds per game and Davis chips in eight.

Senior guard Ian Reed is also in double-figures netting 12 points a game to go with four assists and two steals a game while seniors Joby Sorrel and Justin Hall check in with averages of seven and five points per game respectively.

Coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson’s club will play the Rebels on Monday night at Willie Akers Arena in Logan in the second game of the semifinal round as Man will play No. 4 seed Sherman to kick things off at 6:00.

The winners of Monday night’s games will play in the championship on Thursday at 7 p.m. once again in Logan.

In Class AA, the Mingo Central Miners finished the regular season with only a 2-13 record but were voted in as the No. 2 team in the Region 3 Section 2 Tournament.

MCHS will get to play host to No. 3 seed Liberty (Raleigh) on Tuesday night at Miner Mountain with a berth in the sectional championship on the line.

There are only three teams total in this section as Chapmanville (6-6) was tabbed as the No. 1 seed and received an automatic bye into the championship game, which is scheduled to be played at 7 p.m. on Friday night at Chapmanville.

Liberty finished the season two games above .500 but were only able to play six contest on the season due to COVID-19 issues as they enter with a 4-2 record.

One of their six games came against Mingo Central as they made the trip to Miner Mountain back on March 13 and came away with a 51-38 win.

The Miners two wins came against Point Pleasant by a score of 55-42 in a game at home back on March 6 and at Lincoln County by a final of 75-70 in OT a Lincoln County.

Third year coach Stan Elkins’ club is lead by 6’4” junior Jarius Jackson who is averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds per game on the season.

The Miners have only one senior in forward Ethan Evans and he is the team’s second leading scorer tossing in 10 points and eight rebounds per game while shooting right under 70% from the field.

Guards Preston Smith and Justin May each average eight points per game and have turned in nice performances at times this season for MCHS.

Sophomore guards Kyle Campbell, Zion Martin, along with freshman guards Ethan Thomason and Malaki Shepherd will also see action for the Miners.

Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.

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