Edwyn May has to be a happy man.
As a coach, you are never satisfied, there’s always something to work on.
But the Tug Valley High School basketball coach has to be pleased with what he saw on Friday night at Logan’s King Coal Classic as his Class A No. 2-ranked Panthers smashed the Class AA No. 12 Ravenswood Red Devils, 80-64, at Logan High School’s Willie Akers Arena before a big crowd.
Tug Valley, now 11-1 on the season, played team ball and used that team play to defeat a pretty solid Ravenswood squad.
The Panthers moved the ball around superbly, finding the open man, shot very well from the floor and finished with 18 assists.
Tug never trailed.
Calvin Blankenship and Jeremy Dillon led the Panthers with 26 and 24 points respectively. Dillon was a red-hot 9-for-11 shooting from the floor, including 4-for-4 from 3-point land. Both also had four asssits.
May said his Panthers beat a good Ravenswood team. The Devils are now 8-5.
“They are a nice team and they are a young team,” Coach May said of Ravenswood. “They are a whole lot like us and they mirror us. They have a bunch of sophomores and we play five sophomores. I thought that we played well tonight and we really moved the ball well. We had 18 assists and that was over half of our field goals. We passed the ball really well tonight and we passed the ball really well in transition. I also thought that changing up our defense confused them quite a bit.”
The Panthers were 31-for-54 shooting for 57.4 percent for the game. Ravenswood also shot well and was 21-for-42 for 50 percent.
In the first half, Tug Valley sizzled the nets on 19-for-30 shooting for 63.3 percent as Tug led 43-33 at the break.
Tyler May added seven points for Tug Valley. Jonathan Blankenship and Chandler Runyon tossed in six apiece. Corbin Oliver and Colby Savage had four each, while Brady Spaulding had three points.
May led Tug on the boards and in assists with five each. Dillon had two blocks. May and Calvin Blankenship had four steals each.
Logan Jarrett paced Ravenswood with 24 points. Isaiah Morgan pitched in 23. Stephen Dawson and Jarrett each had seven rebounds.
The Panthers led 20-15 after one and held a 10-point edge at the half.
Tug Valley then made its move in the third quarter.
A 16-5 Tug run pushed the lead to 59-38 with 3:05 left, capped off by Dillon’s old-fashioned three-point play. May also hit a pair of corner 3s during the run.
Ravenswood got to within 61-45 after three and cut the Panther lead to 67-57 in the fourth period before the Panthers put the Red Devils away.
A 3 by Calvin Blankenship pushed the lead to 70-57 with 4:17 to go.
Later, a nifty alley-oop to Dillon with 1:06 left made it 75-62, putting the game out of reach. The Panthers scored on three alley-oops during the game — one other one to Dillon early on the game and one to Calvin Blankenship, who also drained a trio of treys.
Coach May was a bit peeved as Ravenswood crawled its way back into the game in the second half.
No worries, however.
“Once we got a lead I thought that we relaxed some on defense but overall I was pretty pleased,” May said. “When we attack the basket we are good but sometimes we settle for 3s. We shoot the ball pretty good and we like to shoot 3s, so we’re bad to settle for them but when we attack the basket we’re pretty good.”
Tug Valley jumped on top 10-2 early and led 20-15 after one with Dillon’s 23-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Panthers made it 31-20 in the second after a couple of steals and scores by May and Runyon, a Calvin Blankenship drive down the lane and a Dillon top-side trey.
After another Dillon 3 and a pair of buckets by Calvin Blankenship, the Panthers led 43-33 at the half.
Coach May said his players enjoyed playing in the field house and in the King Coal.
“We love it,” he said. “We played GW at the Williamson Field house a couple of weeks ago and that was a nice atmosphere. Coming over here is a nice atmosphere. We enjoyed it and it was nice.”
Tug Valley was scheduled to return to action with Saturday night’s game against Huntington St. Joe at Huntington’s Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
The Panthers then host Wesley Christian on Tuesday night, play at Class A sectional rival Man on Friday night before taking on Magnolia on Feb. 10 in the Little General Shootout at the Charleston Civic Center.
Tug was coming off a big 60-40 win on Thursday night over rival Mingo Central.
“It doesn’t get any easier for us. We don’t have an easy schedule,” Coach May said.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).