GOODY, Ky – The Tug Valley Panthers (5-0) stay undefeated after beating the Belfry Pirates (2-5) on Tuesday night, the final score of 57-48 does not accurately represent the intensity put forth by both teams.
In the last scheduled game on the second day of the Mountain Schoolboy Classic, the two teams squared off in front of a packed crowd with nothing more in mind than the game ahead. The game play was physical and fast paced from both teams. The Pirates and the Panthers both kept tremendous pressure on each other throughout the game.
The Panthers are normally referred to as a fast paced, shooting team but the Pirate defense uncovered that to be difficult with hard defensive pressure. The Panthers showed the Pirates that you can’t win ball games without making shots. But, with the help supplied from the Panthers bench Tug Valley walked away with a win.
During the first period the Pirate defense helped cause some turnovers from the Panthers that would plague them throughout the first half. The Pirates went 4-13 on field goals during the first period. The Panthers outscored Belfry 13-11 in the first period.
The second period proved even worse for the Pirates shooting percentage when they only went 2-18. The Panthers kept the game moving fast and never gave the Pirates a chance to set up. With 2:10 minutes left to play before halftime, the Panthers had a 10 point lead over the Pirates. To get that lead Tug Valley scored twice off of two quick steals which added to the three point lead they already had. The Pirates battled back before the buzzer but Tug Valley entered the locker room with a seven point lead. The score was 26-19.
Tug Valley’s leading 3-point shooter, Tyler May had been off of his game all night and had been held to only two points on the night. During the third period the Blankenship brothers, Calvin and Johnathan were showing a lot of hustle diving after loose balls and applying heavy defensive pressure on the Pirates offensive guards. Jeremy Dillon and Chandler Runyon kept the game moving fast with quick passes and constant movement.
Tug Valley outscored the pirates in the third period 14-12. Garrett Fannin and Isiah Roblee kept the Pirates close combining for eight points to help make it a game at the right time.
The fourth period showed both teams go all out on effort with neither team giving in. Tug Valley and Belfry both scored 17 points in the fourth period but the Panthers lead proved too much. Belfry had cut the Panthers lead to six points late in the fourth period. However, Tug Valley’s 80 percent from the free-throw line kept the Pirates out of reach.
Dillon was the leading scorer for the Panthers and also gained a double-double on the night. Dillon had 16 points, 11 rebounds and shot a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. The Panthers found a lot of help from Corbin Oliver and Garrett brown who combined for 18 points off the bench.
Fannin, Roblee, and Koleston Blankenship all scored 11 points for the Pirates. Cole Bentley led the Pirates in rebounds with 11. The Pirates played great defense but after the Panthers applied pressure to Fannin the effect was noticeable.
Tug Valley stepped out of their usual routine and shot under 25 percent from behind the 3-point arc making only 5-22 shots. They did however; make 8-10 free throws. Belfry only shot 28 percent on the night making 17-61 shots.
Tug Valley head Coach Ed May said, “We were sluggish and you could tell it was Christmas break. When you are out of school like this it’s easy for the kids to get out of their routine of practicing and playing. I thought we came out the first three or four minutes of the first quarter and had good energy and effort which we kept up throughout the game but we weren’t mentally there tonight.” May continued by saying, “We have to become more focused every day, we have to focus on the little things that make the biggest difference. We can’t get frustrated when things get tough. We have to stop the complaining and focus entirely on the game. That’s where a lot of our fouls came from. All of our mistakes just show it was a typical Christmas break game, especially after a big win like we had last week.”
Belfry Head Coach Mark Thompson said, “We are always a team that will play hard. That has kind of become our identity. We took too many three’s early on and we were living and dying by them. Any team that shoots as bad as we did tonight should get beat. They (Tug Valley) are probably the best team we will play this year; their guards played really well tonight, they are solid and basketball smart. In order to win that type of ball game you have to match the other team’s intensity.” Thompson continued by saying, “We didn’t get the ball to the block enough tonight, not the guards and I didn’t stress it enough. This was a very tournament like atmosphere and it is games like this that help teach you how to win in atmospheres like this. We just don’t know how to do that yet, they did.”
“This tournament has been good in a way that it teaches the kids how to prepare for different teams back to back, which is something that will come in handy at the end of the year when District and Regionals role around,” added Thompson.
Score by quarters:
Belfry: 11 8 12 17 – 48
T. Valley: 13 13 14 17 – 57
Belfry: Garrett Fannin 11, Koleston Blankenship 11, Isiah Roblee 11, Cole Bentley 7, Cam Catron 5, Austin Woolum 4, Jaret James 7.
T. Valley: Jeremy Dillon 16, Jonathan Blankenship 9, Corbin Oliver 10, Chandler Runyon 6, Calvin Blankenship 4, Garrett Brown 8, Tyler May 2, Colby Savage 2.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] or on twitter @sidplaster)