CHARLESTON – The No. 1 ranked Tug Valley Panthers will take on No. 4 seed Tucker County in the semi-finals Friday at 1 p.m. in the Class A division of the 100th annual West Virginia State High School basketball tournament.
Tug Valley (23-3), the defending Class AA state champs, is playing in Class A this year. On Wednesday night they rolled over Clarksburg Notre Dame 87-62 at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Panthers received the No. 1 seed after finishing the regular season ranked No. 1 in the state.
Tucker County defeated Greater Beckley Christian 68-61 in the opening round in the last game of the session on Wednesday night.
Charleston Catholic, the No. 3 seed and defending Class A state champion, defeated Buffalo, while No. 7 seed Wheeling Central Catholic defeated No. 2 seed Magnolia in the quarter finals.
Tucker County is coached by Tom Gutshall. The Mountain Lions have a record of 21-3. They finished the regular season ranked No. 4 in the state.
Tug Valley coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson knows his team will have a much rougher game against Tucker County.
“Sometimes that semi-final game on Friday is tougher,” Thompson said. “You have to survive that to advance to the championship game.”
Thompson got some solid bench play from sophomores Hayden Sturgell and Austin Baisden in the win over Notre Dame. Sturgell scored 12 and Baisden 7 to help out when Aaron Muncy and Corey Dillon got into foul trouble.
Junior Thomas Baisden, who came in averaging 12 points, scored 10 in the first round game.
Senior all-state candidates Mikey Newsome and Austin Brewer had 25 and 19 points respectively. Brewer also dished out 10 assists.
“I think he is the best player in the state,” Thompson said of Brewer. “He passes the ball well. He has great vision and gets his teammates involved.”
State Tourney Notes:
Tug Valley went on an exceptional 21-0 run in the third quarter against Notre Dame.… The Panthers had 52 points in the paint for a number of high percentage shots in that first round game….TVHS had 29 points off the bench in the game …. Tug Valley had 20 fast break points in the game.
The Charleston Catholic Irish come in as the No. 3 seed. Tug Valley defeated CCHS rather handedly during a regular season game played at the Civic Center. This is the ninth straight year Charleston Catholic has been in the state tourney.
Some were surprised that Wheeling Central Catholic upset second seed Magnolia. The Maroon Knights come in with a record of 13-12, and upset St. Marys in the regional to make it to Charleston.
Notre Dame of Clarksburg is coached by former WVU guard Jarrod West.
Logan’s Speedy Bevins, from WVOW radio, is once again providing color commentary for the Metro News radio network.
Joe Kinzer of WXCC radio is in Charleston doing interviews from the state tournament.
Former Woodrow Wilson coach Dave Barksdale, who won five Class AAA titles, is an assistant for Greater Beckley Christian. Barksdale had been coaching at Mountain State University before that program was folded because of financial difficulties at the Beckley area college.
This is the 100th anniversary of one of the state’s premier sporting events. Teams from the past 100 years are being honored during the four-day tournament.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)