The game was tied at 11 after one quarter, with Catholic uncharacteristically falling in love with the 3-point shot. The Irish were 2 of 10 from long range in the first quarter.
But Tug didn't start breaking it open until the second quarter, when three straight goals by Newsome sparked an 8-0 run that gave the Panthers the lead for good.
"Sometimes I want it in my hands a little too much,'' Newsome said with a laugh, "and my teammates get mad at me. I wanted to come out and play defense in the first quarter and slow McCarty down, and find my shot in the second quarter.''
While the Irish were playing bombs away, Tug Valley was seeking - and getting - good shots inside the foul lane. The Panthers made 25 of 47 field goals for 53 percent.
"We called a timeout,'' McPherson said, "and told them to take the ball to the basket. We were taking entirely too many outside shots - trying to get back in the game all at once instead of trying to go to the basket, then get a stop and get a 2, then get a stop.''
Catholic wound up 3 of 20 from beyond the 3-point line. Tug was 3 of 4.
"We caught them probably at a good time,'' said Panthers coach Garland Thompson. "They played last night [a win at Buffalo] and they didn't have their coach here tonight. That is a huge difference. We did play pretty good and they struggled a little bit, but I promise you we'll see those guys again.
"When you know you have to play Catholic, you circle that thing back in November. We happened to play a very good game this time. We're thankful and we move on. These kids have played so many big games before that they know what this was about and were ready for what they came into.''
McPherson didn't think having played an emotional game the previous night against a sectional opponent had anything to do with the outcome.
"I'm not going to use that as an excuse,'' McPherson said, "and Coach McClanahan wouldn't use it as an excuse, either. Because if you play in the state tournament, you have to play Thursday and turn around and play at noon Saturday. Their enthusiasm wasn't as big tonight because [Tuesday] was a sectional opponent, I guess, but this was a big game.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.