Tug responded in the second half by shooting 50 percent after an icy 36 percent in the opening half. Tucker, though, made just 31.6 percent of its shots after halftime. The Mountain Lions used 44.4 percent accuracy in the first half to only trail 23-20 at the break.
Junior forward Thomas Baisden scored 18 points and landed six rebounds for Tug Valley while Newsome finished with 16 points. Panthers senior guard Aaron Muncy contributed eight points, five boards, three assists and five steals and senior guard Austin Brewer added six points, six caroms and four assists.
The Mountain Lions committed twice as many turnovers as the Panthers (14-7), which Tug Valley turned into a 21-10 edge in points.
"We played the game we wanted to play,'' said Tucker coach Tom Gutshall, whose team held Tug to its second-lowest point total this season. "We took them out of what they wanted to do. I know one thing - they knew they were in a ballgame. We had a chance to be ahead in the first half. We just missed some shots.''
Junior forward Ian Nichols turned in 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting with 14 rebounds for Tucker, but was the team's only player to score in double figures. Senior guard Tyler Snyder chipped in nine points, four boards, six assists and three steals.
Tug is vying to become the first public school since Williamson in 2001 to win the Class A title. Thompson was an assistant coach for Williamson during its championship run.
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.