Tug Valley wins Class A championship
CHARLESTON -- In a historical meeting of two state champions from the previous season, it was Tug Valley earning the right to say they won back-to-back titles on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers used a strong defensive effort and a well-rounded game to earn a 58-41 win over Charleston Catholic in the Class A championship at Charleston Civic Center.
Tug Valley became the first public school to win a Class A championship since 2001 and the first school in history to win back-to-back titles in two different classifications. The Panthers won the Class AA crown in 2012 before dropping to Class A for the 2012-13 school year.
"There aren't three sweeter words I know than 'Back-to-back' right now," Tug Valley coach Garland Thompson said.
After being limited due to foul trouble in the first game of the state tournament, Tug Valley guard Aaron Muncy stood out in his final two games in a Panther uniform.
While Muncy's main efforts were on the defensive end in the semifinal win over Tucker County, Muncy showed his offensive prowess on Saturday.
Muncy led the Panthers with 21 points while also defending several positions.
Muncy was able to get Zack Casto into foul trouble early and take one of the Irish leaders out of the mix. Casto finished with two points and no field goals.
After seeing time against guard Garrett McCarty, Casto then switched over to Nick George -- Charleston Catholic's offensive leader -- and limited his ability to go baseline, which he had done with success in the first half.
"When Corey started having a little bit of trouble on George, I told him that I wanted to guard him to stop him from getting a few buckets," Muncy said. "I just try to guard anybody I can. I can guard a guard or I can go down low and get a big man."
George finished with 13 points and McCarty added 10 for the Irish (24-4).
Charleston Catholic cut the deficit to 32-29 on the first possession of the third quarter, but the Panthers ended any doubt as Muncy connected on a 3-pointer, then Mikey Newsome corralled a steal and hit Corey Dillon for a layup.
It was all part of a 17-4 run that extended into the fourth quarter as the Panthers seized control with their defense.
"I tell them all the time to talk because there is going to be a big crowd out here," Thompson said. "They don't have to talk every possession because they know each other so well that they know their moves and what they're going to do. It starts with chemistry here, and that's three pretty good chemists."
McCarty hit a 3-pointer to give the Irish a 26-24 lead midway through the second quarter, but Tug Valley (25-3) answered with an 8-0 run to end the half to take a 32-26 lead into the locker room.
The catalyst for Tug Valley was Muncy, the do-it-all senior leader who went off for 16 points in the first half and connected on four 3-pointers.
Muncy was left alone for much of the first half with Charleston Catholic trying to limit the production of Austin Brewer and Newsome, but the 5-10 guard made the Irish pay for their defensive choice.
"You pick your poison and you hope the poison you pick doesn't taste bad that day," Charleston Catholic coach Bill McClanahan said. "We've seen some pretty special guards along the way...we've never seen three guards that were like that."
Tug Valley's guards also proved crucial on the glass, securing rebounds on the offensive end and giving the Panthers extra opportunities to score.
The Panthers outrebounded Charleston Catholic 32-20 while limiting the Irish to two offensive rebounds. Thomas Baisden led the team with 12 rebounds.
"Two things help you win a championship -- you win them with defense and with rebounding," Thompson said. "That's on every rebound. I don't care if you go from pro to college to midget-league, you have to rebound and defend and Thomas Baisden was a warrior today."
Brewer finished with 15 points while Newsome added 10 for the Panthers, who ended the 2012-13 season without a loss to a Class A school.
Muncy, Brewer and Newsome were named to the All-Tournament team, along with George, Casto and David Godwin for Charleston Catholic.
Other All-Tournament honorees included Wheeling Central's David Park and Tucker County's Ian Nichols.
CHARLESTON CATHOLIC 18 8 5 10 -- 41: Godwin 3-8 0-1 7, McCarty 3-5 3-3 10, George 5-13 2-3 13, Casto 0-1 2-2 2, Hovorka 3-5 0-0 9, Hoyer 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Tupta 0-0 0-0 0, McKown 0-0 0-0 0, Herlihy 0-1 0-0 0, Persily 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-34 7-9 41.
TUG VALLEY 19 13 11 15 -- 58: Muncy 8-13 1-1 21, M.Newsome 2-9 4-4 10, Brewer 7-13 0-2 15, T.Baisden 4-7 0-3 8, Dillon 2-4 0-0 4, K.Newsome 0-0 0-0 0, S.Marcum 0-0 0-0 0, Kitchen 0-1 0-0 0, Hager 0-1 0-0 0, Sturgell 0-2 0-0 0, Copley 0-0 0-0 0, A.Baisden 0-0 0-0 0, Blankenship 0-0 0-0 0, Oliver 0-0 0-0 0, D.Marcum 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-50 5-10 58.
3-Point Goals--Charleston Catholic 6-11 (Hovorka 3-4, Godwin 1-2, McCarty 1-2, George 1-3). Tug Valley 7-19 (Muncy 4-7, M.Newsome 2-8, Brewer 1-2, Kitchen 0-1, Sturgell 0-1). Fouled Out--none. Rebounds--Charleston Catholic 41 (George 5), Tug Valley 32 (Baisden 12). Assists--Charleston Catholic 8 (McCarty 3), Tug Valley 12 (Brewer 5). Total Fouls--Charleston Catholic 13, Tug Valley 12. Technical--Charleston Catholic bench. A--na.