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Cameron Falls In State Boys Basketball Quarterfinals

Photo by Kyle Lutz Cameron’s Conner Powell takes aim during Tuesday’s state quarterfinal game against Tug Valley.

CHARLESTON — The Cameron boys’ basketball team’s memorable season has come to an end. Playing in their first game inside the Charleston Coliseum, the seven-seeded Dragons led by as many as seven points in the second quarter against No. 2 seed Tug Valley.

However the Panthers’ finished the second quarter on a 13-2 run and ran away with a 69-55 victory over the Dragons in a West Virginia Class A state quarterfinal matchup Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m really proud of my guys. They battled,” Cameron coach Tom Hart said. “We came in as the No. 7 seed against an overall great Tug Valley team and we wish them the best. They made a run at the end of the second quarter and we made a few runs in the third. We had some put backs and nice looks that didn’t drop. They got some transition baskets and got the ball inside.”

That run for Tug Valley came right after the Dragons took their largest lead of the game.

With 4:24 left in the second quarter, Logan Burkett hit a 3-pointer to put the score at 23-16 in favor of Cameron. That’s when the Panthers went on their run.

Tug Valley forced seven turnovers, all of which were steals in that span.

Easton Davis tied the game at 23-23 on a jumper with 1:42.

On the ensuing Dragons’ possession, Austin Day stopped the scoring drought for his team and a layup gave Cameron its last lead of the game.

Caleb May hit a pair of free throws to tie the game again, but he was able to get a steal and secure a layup with 18 seconds left to put the score at 27-25 to give the Panthers the lead for good. He also hit a layup at the buzzer to make it 29-25 at halftime.

May led the way for Tug Valley with 32 points and also tallied eight steals. He had 21 points in the first half. Ethan Colegrove also scored in double figures for Tug Valley with 15 points.

“Tug Valley is a good defensive team. They were down low and had their hands out a couple of times,” Hart said. “We tried to crossover in front of them and lost the ball. There were a couple of times, we tried a couple of spin moves and they stepped in from behind, knocked the ball loose and got some transition baskets out of that. I’ll credit their defense, but I feel like those were a little bit more self-inflicted than anything else.”

The Tug Valley lead blossomed to eight in the third quarter. However, Cameron did not go away quietly.

After a layup by Trevor Beresford, Conner Powell drilled a 3-pointer followed by a Day layup to make it 38-37 in favor of the Panthers with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter.

The Dragons, though, could not take the lead back.

Tug Valley eventually took an 11 point lead with 3:44 to go after another May layup.

The Dragons put forth one final push. After Connor Howard hit two free throws, after a technical foul by the Panthers, he hit a 3-pointer to make it 55-49.

But the Dragons could not get any closer.

“Our first time down here, I couldn’t be more proud,” Hart said. “We could have come down here and laid an egg. I don’t think we did that.

“I think we played as hard as we could. I think we gave them a battle and proved that we deserved to be here and earn the right to be down here.”

Beresford and Cole Burkett each tallied 13 points for the Dragons while Powell netted eight.

In their final games in a Dragons uniform, Logan Burkett netted six points, Howard had five and Day compiled four.

The Dragons outrebounded the Panthers 42-32 and had 20 offensive boards.

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