NAUGATUCK — The Class A No. 1-ranked Tug Valley High School boys’ basketball team ended Man’s season at 7-17 with Tuesday night’s 94-36 blowout win over the Hillbillies in the sectional tourney at the Tug Valley High School gym in Naugatuck.
The much younger Billies could not keep pace with the Panthers, which won last year’s Double-A state tourney.
It was the third time this season Tug Valley had routed Man.
“They have a heck of a team,” Man coach Harvey Arms said simply about the Panthers.
Tug Valley raced out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back in posting the lopsided victory.
The Panthers led 29-8 after one quarter, 57-10 at the half and 78-26 after three.
Freshmen John Thomas Keffer and Kenny Joe Adkins led Man with 11 and 10 points respectively. Cayce Mullins had six, while Mikle Scott Rowe had four, Jake Adkins three and Gage Harvey two.
Eleven Tug Valley players reached the scorebooks, led by Austin Brewer, who tossed in 16 points. Mikey Newsome had 15, while Thomas Baisden and Hayden Sturgill contributed 11 points each. Corey Dillion added nine, while Austin Baisden, Aaron Copley and Shane Marcum all had six points each. Ethan Hager had three points and Dwayne Marcum two.
After trailing 7-0 early on, Man cut it to 7-5 on baskets by Kenny Joe Adkins and Harvey and a free throw by Jake Adkins.
But that would be the close as the Billies would get all night long as the Panthers would pull away, outscoring Man 22-3 in the final five minutes of the first period to take a commanding 29-8 lead after one period.
Brewer then put down a slam dunk at the 6:40 mark of the second.
The rout was on as the Panthers would outscore the Billies 28-2 in the second quarter to take a 47-point halftime lead.
Man did not score a field goal in the second period and could only manage two free throws — one each by Keffer and Mullins. Baisden lit up the scoreboard for 11 points during the stanza for Tug.
The Panthers then pushed the lead to 50 points at 67-17 midway into the third as Tug Valley elected to call off the dogs and empty its bench.
Tug Valley, winners of 10 straight games, improved to 20-3 on the season with the win. The Panthers are set to host Greater Beckley Christian (18-4) on Friday night at home in the Class A sectional championship game. Both teams have automatically advanced to next week’s regional tourney.
Man only loses one senior player due to graduation in Clay Brumfield.