Hale’s Free Throws Lift Tug Valley To OT Win Over Logan

Kaden Hale hit two free throws with 0:08 left on the clock in overtime to lift the 3rd ranked (Class A) Tug Valley Panthers to a 69-68 win over the 6th ranked (Class AAA) Logan Wildcats on Friday in the Willie Akers Classic at Willie Akers Arena.

The Panthers (7-0) and Wildcats (4-5) went back and forth all night as neither team could grab a big lead. Tug Valley held a slim lead, 17-16, after the opening quarter. The hotly contested game continued into the second frame as Tug Valley took a 33-30 advantage into the locker room at the half.

The two teams kept scrapping in the second half, and the Panthers took a 46-44 lead into the final quarter. There, the Panthers held a 59-52 advantage with just two minutes left in the game, but the Wildcats battled back quickly to make it a 59-58 game.

Tug Valley’s Braydun Ferris then hit a free throw to make it a 60-58 score with 1:07 left. Logan’s Julius Clancy then drove to the basket and scored to tie the game at 60-60 with 0:38 left. The Panthers had two shots on the ensuing possession, but neither fell as the game went into overtime.

In the extra frame, the Wildcats took the 62-60 lead on a basket from Zayden Sherod with 3:22 left. Logan extended the lead to 64-60 when Cole Blankenship got a steal and layup with 3:03 left.

Tug Valley answered on the next trip down the floor when Ashton Davis drove to the basket and laid it in with 2:54 left to cut Logan’s lead to 64-62. Tug Valley was then whistled for a technical foul with 2:19 remaining, and McCormick Ilderton stepped up to hit two free throws to stretch the lead back out at 66-62. Ilderton then hit two more free throws with 1:48 on the clock to give the Wildcats a 68-62 advantage.

The Panthers quickly answered as Davis drilled a 3-pointer on the left side of the floor with 1:32 remaining to cut Logan’s lead in half at 68-65. After a defensive stop, the Panthers set up a play that saw Hale hit a jumper in the lane with 0:21 left to make it a 68-67 score. After a Logan time out, Tug Valley was able to force a turnover on the inbound pass. Then, Hale was fouled with 0:08 left and sank both free throws to give the Panthers the lead. Logan had one more chance, but the final shot was off the mark.

Davis led the Panthers with 20 points and 6 rebounds. Ferris had 18 points. Bryson Elia scored 12 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Hale fired in 10 points, including the final 4 points of the game. Buddy Marcum had 7 points and 10 rebounds. Carson Newsome finished with 2 points.

For Logan, Blankenship and Ivan Miller led the way with 17 points each. Clancy followed with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Ilderton netted 12 points. Matt Hatfield added 4 points. Sherod chipped in with 2 points.

The Wildcats will play in the consolation game of the Willie Akers Classic on Saturday against Williamstown. The opening tip is set for 6 pm. Tug Valley will face Charleston Classic in the championship game on Saturday at 8 pm. Both games will be at Willie Akers Arena in Logan.

Photo Courtesy of Karen Watts

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