Irish clobber Tug Valley 81-43, win sectional title
WILLIAMSON — The No. 1 Huntington St. Joe Irish (18-4) wasted no time in jumping all over the Tug Valley Panthers (17-7) on Friday night winning the Region IV Section II championship game 81-43 at the historic Williamson Fieldhouse.
For coach Shannon Lewis and the Irish, who clinched their 13th consecutive sectional title, it was just another stepping stone as they try to win their ninth Class A state title in the last 11 years.
“Obv iously we wa nted this win to assure us a home game for the regional,” coach Lewis said.
“We’re a little banged up right now, we got a couple of kids out and Dena (Jarrells) is limping pretty bad on her ankle. But we got a little time here to rest up and get ready for a tough regional opponent whoever it might be.”
St. Joe did not have a slow start against the up-start Tug Valley squad as they did on Wednesday night in the semifinals against Sherman as they jumped ahead 16-4 just four minutes into the opening period after a transition bucket by Marshall commit Paige Shy.
They continued pouring it on throughout the rest of the period as Chattanooga commit Jarrells 11-point quarter helped give the Lady Irish a 27-11 lead into the second.
To start off the second quarter a three from sophomore Alyssa Newsome for Tug Valley cut the lead to 27-14 but St. Joe immediately answered as freshman Julia Preservati pushed the lead to 16.
The Irish ended the first half on a 17-6 run to take full control of the game as Preservati stole the ball and took it coast-to-coast to lay it in and make the score 44-20.
In the third quarter, St. Joe posted its biggest difference out of all four quarters, outscoring the Lady Panthers 29-9 thanks to 11 points each from seniors Jarrells and Shy.
They took a 73-32 lead into the fourth quarter following a three by junior Abby Lee right before the horn.
The final eight minutes both teams clear their bench, and Tug Valley actually won the period 13-8.
“Tug Valley has some young players and even though we are down a couple of players we wanted to keep the tempo up and try to wear them down a little bit and I think we were able to do that,” Lewis said.
“We have some experienced players, and it was just a matter of us hitting some shots, cranking up the pressure a little bit, and just wearing them down with our size and depth.”
St. Joe was led in scoring by the duo of Jarrells and Shy as they combined for 45 points. Jarrells scored a game-high 24, Shy 21.
Lee also reached doublefigures for the Lady Irish as she scored 10 points.
The Irish shot the ball well all night long as they connected on 11 shots from beyond the three-point arc.
Tug Va lley was led by Newsome’s 1 1 points and was joined in double-figures by freshman Kaylea Baisden with 10.
For first year coach Clyde Farley and Panthers, the outcome was not what they wanted but they still have one more game left in the regional round next week.
“I told the girls our season is not defined by tonight, we kind of knew what we were up against and we knew how good of a ball club they had,” coach Farley said following the loss.
“We set ourselves up with the win on Wednesday night and come Thursday we will have a chance to go to the state tou r na ment. We’re not happy with this loss, it stings. But nothing is broken, nothing is hurt. We go back to work and get ready for Thursday.”
Tug Valley fell to 17-7 on the season with the loss as they have more than doubled their win total this season from the past three years combined when they went 8-46.
Things will not get easier in the regional round next week as they travel to No. 2 Parkersburg Catholic, which knocked off No. 3 Williamstown 64-60 in a Region IV Section I championship game Friday.
Huntington St. Joe improved to 19-4. The Irish will play host to the No. 3 ranked Yellow Jackets on Thursday night.
TUG VALLEY 11 10 9 13 — 43: A. Newsome 11, K. Baisden 10, A. Hall 7, J. Wagoner 6, B. Evans 5, M. May 4.
HUNTINGTON ST. JOE 27 17 29 8 — 81: D. Jarrells 24, P. Shy 21, Abby Lee 10, J. Preservati 8, I. Hickman 7, L. Whitmore 3, M. Smith 3, H. Roberts 2, Ava Lee 2, S. Lopez 1.