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Tug Valley's Caleb May drives during a West Virginia high school Class A boys basketball state tournament quarterfinal game against Cameron on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center in Charleston.

CHARLESTON — No. 2 seed Tug Valley started slow, but pulled away late to earn a 69-55 win over seventh-seed Cameron in the Class A quarterfinals on Tuesday afternoon at Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

The Panthers (14-2) advanced to the Class A semifinals to be played on Thursday morning at 11:15 a.m. against No. 3 seed Pendleton County.

“That was a struggle, you’ve got to give Cameron a lot of credit,” Tug Valley coach Garland Thompson said. “They really took it to us. Every time we would get a little run and get up to a six- to-eight point lead there, they would keep coming back. Luckily, we had enough in us to pull it out down the stretch and I’m thankful to come out with a win.”

The Panthers came out sluggish to start the game after a 12-day layoff, and Cameron (11-5) jumped out to a 15-11 lead after one quarter following a late bucket from Colson Wichterman.

Thompson was forced to call a timeout to settle his team down after the Dragons took their largest lead of the game at 23-16 with 4:24 to play in the second quarter following a 3-pointer from Cameron’s Logan Burkett.

Coming out of the timeout, the Panthers turned up the defensive pressure and forced seven turnovers in the final four minutes of the quarter which lead to some easy buckets on the offensive end as they ended the quarter on a 13-2 run.

Senior Caleb May, who finished with a game high 32 points and eight steals on the night, scored the final six points of the quarter, which helped the Panthers take a 29-25 lead into halftime.

“Coach tells us that defense wins championships, that was probably the main focus coming into the game,” May said after the win. “Defense turns into offense, we’ve really been working hard on playing better defense, and that’s what it’s going to take to keep winning.”

In the third quarter, Tug Valley extended its lead to eight at 38-30 after a putback by Ethan Colegrove, but the Dragons went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 38-37 after a 3 from Conner Powell with 3:24 to play in the third quarter.

The Panthers got buckets from Colegrove, Ian Reed and Justin Hall in the final minutes of the third to take a 44-39 lead into the fourth.

Tug Valley quickly added to their lead in the fourth quarter and took their first double-digit lead with 3:44 to play after another bucket from May.

The Dragons cut the lead back to six at 61-55 following a Tug Valley turnover with 55 seconds left, but the Panthers scored the final eight points of the game to secure the 14-point win.

Colegrove joined May in double figures for Tug Valley as he scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds, five coming on the offensive end.

Reed and Easton Davis each added eight points, while Reed led the team with nine rebounds while dishing three assists and picking up three steals. Hall rounded out the scoring column for Tug Valley with six points and six rebounds.

The Dragons were led 6-foot-7 junior center Trevor Beresford and sophomore Cole Burkett, who both netted 13 points.

The Panthers advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2018 when they fell to Ravenswood.

Thompson spoke about the challenge ahead in the form of Pendleton County, which enters riding a 39-game winning streak dating back to the 2019-20 season.

“They’re big, trong, and undefeated for two years now,” Thompson said. “Their coach said that they are cerebral, and they most certainly are. ... They are extremely well coached. They know their flaws but they also know their strengths. We’ve got our work cut out for us. ... If these kids aren’t ready to go Pendleton will knock us out. I’m very concerned.”

Cameron: 15 10 14 16 — 55: Burkett 13, Beresford 13, Powell 8, L. Burkett 6, Howard 5, Wichterman 4, Hartley 2, Day 4.

Tug Valley: 11 18 15 25 — 69: May 32, Colegrove 15, Reed 8, Davis 8. Hall 6, Sorrell 0.

MAN 74, TUCKER COUNTY 34: The top-seeded Hillbillies thrashed No. 8 seed Tucker County on Tuesday evening during one of the four Class A quarterfinals at the Charleston Coliseum.

Man’s 6-foot-7 junior center Austin Ball had a monster game, with double-double numbers of 27 points and 13 rebounds. He also had three blocks, three steals, three assists and a slam dunk, which gave him 1,000 points for his career.

Man (14-2), the Class A tourney favorites, move on to play either Clay-Battelle or Webster County on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. for the right to play in Saturday morning’s state championship game. Tucker County saw its season come to a close at 12-6.

PENDLETON COUNTY 59, GREENBRIER WEST 45: Josh Alt scored 25 points and yanked down 13 rebounds to lead Pendleton County to a win over Greenbrier West in the boys basketball state tournament Class A quarterfinals Tuesday morning at the Charleston Coliseum.

Third-seeded Pendleton (16-0) advances to the Class A semifinals at 11:15 a.m. Thursday No. 2 Tug Valley, a 69-55 quarterfinal winner Tuesday over No. 7 Cameron.

Alt, a 6-foot-2, 247-pound senior, connected on 7 of 14 shots from the floor and 11 of 12 free throws for the Wildcats, who trailed 30-29 at halftime before outscoring Greenbrier West 30-15 after the break.

WILLIAMSTOWN 67, MOOREFIELD 32: Baylor Haught had game highs in points (21) and rebounds (12) as his double-double helped the Yellow Jackets earn the win in a Class AA quarterfinal.

Haught led a balanced effort with three double-figure scorers for No. 1 seed Williamstown. Xavier Caruthers added 15 points for the Yellow Jackets and Sam Cremeans chipped in 12 points.

With the win, Williamstown (15-1) advances to play No. 5 seed Chapmanville in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Friday.

HD Media staff contributed to this report.

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