WILLIAMSON, W.Va — Over the past two seasons, Tug Valley won Class AA and Class A boys basketball state championships behind proven leaders. This year, the Panthers returned just one starter from last years team – but the expectations are still high.
“I’ve had some good kids here the past couple of years,” head coach Garland Thompson said. “I’ve had good seniors that buy into the program and like to play together, I’ve been very fortunate.”
The Panthers will have to try to find a way to come up with the 65 points that the four graduating seniors accounted for last year. Guards Mikey Newsome and Austin Brewer, who both went on to the University of Charleston this season, combined for over 40 points per game.
“It’s hard to replace a Mikey Newsome and Austin Brewer, both were 1,000 point scorers,” Thompson said. “You just have to fill in spots and hope that those kids will adapt, and so far the kids have bought into it.”
The lone starter returning from last year’s squad is Thomas Baisden who put in 15 a game last year. Hayden Sturgell, who averaged eight points a game last year off the bench, steps into a starting role this year, to go along with Kyle Newsome and Calvin Blakenship. Thompson’s squad will look to be a little deeper than last year’s bunch where the starters did most of the playing.
“We will probable play eight or nine guys (this year), and see how far we go from here,” he said.
Tug Valley has started off 2-0 on the young season, but hasn’t really been tested. The Panthers’ early benchmark game will come this Friday when they travel to Westside for a matchup against the Renegades.
“We beat a Phelps team that has been struggling, and beat Richwood in a competitive game,” Thompson said. “When we get through Westside, I’ll know how our team is and where we’re going this year.”
As for overall expectations and talks of a possible three-peat?
“I would hate to sit here as a coach and say we don’t want to win, we want to win,” Thompson said. “I think for these kids, if we make it back to Charleston, which won’t be easy, anything can happen. If the Huntington-St. Joe’s can three-peat, and the Wayne’s of football can win back-to-back titles, I think Tug Valley can as well.”
2013-2014 Boys’ Basketball Schedule
|1||12/10/13 07:30PM||H||PHELPS,KY H.S.||82||-||40||W|
|4||12/27/13 09:00PM||A||BELFRY, KY H.S.||-|
|5||01/03/14 07:30PM||A||CROSS LANES CHRISTIAN||-|
|6||01/07/14 07:30PM||H||MINGO CENTRAL||-|
|7||01/10/14 07:30PM||A||GREATER BECKLEY CHRISTIAN||-|
|8||01/11/14 07:30PM||H||ROANE COUNTY||-|
|10||01/17/14 07:30PM||A||PHELPS,KY H.S.||-|
|11||01/18/14 07:00PM||A||HATFIELD-MCCOY SHOOTOUT||-|
|14||01/24/14 07:30PM||H||BELFRY, KY H.S.||-|
|15||01/28/14 07:30PM||A||MINGO CENTRAL||-|
|16||01/30/14 07:30PM||A||LINCOLN COUNTY||-|
|17||02/01/14 07:30PM||A||ROANE COUNTY||-|
|18||02/07/14 07:30PM||H||CROSS LANES CHRISTIAN||-|
|20||02/14/14 07:30PM||H||GREATER BECKLEY CHRISTIAN||-|
|22||02/21/14 07:30PM||H||VALLEY (FAYETTE)||-|
|wins: 2 lost: 0 ties: 0|