Most were wrong.
The Miners battled from a 24-11 deficit in the opening quarter to cut the lead to six at the break. But TV head coach Garland Thompson must have said something right in the locker rooms because the Panthers hooked their nails into the Miners and went for the kill as Tug punished Central 89-53 on Mingo’s homecourt.
Mikey Newsome netted a deep three to start the game and it should have been an omen for Miner fans. Newsome was the high scorer for Tug with 21 points - 15 in an explosive second half. For the game, he made 12 trips to the line making good on 11.
Tug had five players smack double figures. Big guy, Mason “Packman: Pack had 17 points. Richman Vance came off the bench to add 12. Aaron Muncy netted 11 and Austin Brewer had 10.
Mingo was led but Corey Cook who hit four 3-pointers, 7-for-7 freethrows and a basket for 21 points. David Hatfield had 11 and Austin Banks added 10.
Central would only get 11 points from the rest of the team. Leading scorer for the Miners, Nick Lee remained on the bench after the first quarter.
TV outscored MCC 24-8 but Cook swished a three as the horn sounded to end the opening Q. Hatfield was nearly perfect from the line in the first half sinking 7-of-8 from the nail.
Eleven fouls whistled on the Panthers and three turnovers allowed Cook to pull the Miners within six, 39-33, with his three before the break.
Mingo went into the locker rooms with momentum but it was Tug Valley that came out swinging.
Chuckie White netted the first basket of the second half but Cook answered with a trey with 6:05 in the third. The Valley’s stifling defense held Mingo at 36 and the Panthers went on an 18-2 run until Cook stepped to the stripe for two.
Tug lead by 20 going into the fourth quarter.
The Miners scored only one 2-point basket and three 3-pointers in the second half. For the game, MCC shot 23 percent from the floor finding the goal 13-of-56 tries. Mingo had 13 turnovers in the game and 20 rebounds.
The Panthers owned the stats with nine turnovers to 15 assists. The boards were Tug’s with 29 rebounds.
The game was evenly called with both squads going to the line 21 times.
Tug Valley improved to 15-2 on the year and is ranked first in Class AA by AARP MetroNews Power Index for boys high school basketball and fourth by the AP coaches’ poll.
The Panthers will face Belfry High School on Feb. 14 at home. TV defeated the Pirates earlier in the season 65-37.
Mingo falls to 11-8 with the loss and will host River View on Valentine’s Day. The Miners easily defeated River View earlier this month 89-54.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
TVHS: 24 15 24 25
MCC: 11 22 10 10
Tug Valley: S. Runyon 2, J. White 4, M. Pack 17, R. Vance 12, A. Muncy 11, H. Sturgell 2, C. White 6, M. Newsome 21, A. Brewer 10 and T. Baisden 3.
Mingo Central: M. Lester 1, A. Banks 10, A. Cline 4, A. Lee 2, C. Cook 21, J. May 4 and D. Hatfield 11.