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Cameron Girls Looking To Make History in Today’s State Championship

Cameron Will Face Tug Valley For State Title

Photo by Kyle Lutz Lili Neely and the Cameron girls basketball team will battle Tug Valley in the West Virginia Class A state title game Saturday at the Charleston Coliseum.

CHARLESTON – Cameron girls basketball coach Holly Pettit has some state championship experience. The second-year coach was on the 1994 John Marshall team that lost to Parkersburg in the state title game.

Getting to experience that championship vibe as a player, she will get to experience it again as a coach.

Making it to Charleston for the first time in school history, the Dragons will play for the W.Va. Class A state title against Tug Valley today at 10 a.m. at the Charleston Coliseum.

“It’s heckuva lot different playing than it is coaching that’s for sure,” Pettit said with a laugh. “The pressure as player is a totally different kind than it is coaching because win or lose, as a coach, you always think, ‘What could have I done different? What could have done better? How could we have prepared better?’ As a player, you obviously think, ‘Could I have played better? Why did I make that pass?’ I think it’s awesome, that I get to experience it as a coach. I never thought it would happen, but here we are.”

Cameron has put together a tremendous defensive effort in their first two games of the state tournament. They’ve allowed only 15 field goals and 52 points total. In the quarterfinals against Madonna, they held the Blue Dons to 19.5% (8 of 41) from the field.

In the semifinals against Calhoun County, the Cameron defense stepped up even more holding the Red Devils to 18.9% shooting (7 of 31).

The Red Devils scored 28 points against the Dragons. That’s the amount they scored in the first quarter in their quarterfinal matchup against River View

“Going into both games, we knew we had to disrupt the offense knowing how well their guards have been shooting the basketball,” Pettit said. “Our game plan was to shut them down and fortunately the girls did a good job and executed that plan well.”

Both Cameron and Tug Valley go into battle with big winning streaks on the line.

The No. 2-seeded Dragons have won 17 games in a row. Their only loss came at the hands of Oak Glen during the second game of the season.

The top-seeded Panthers are on an 11-game winning streak and hold a 14-2 overall record. Their two losses came to Lawrence (Kan.) and Saint Joseph Central.

In the quarterfinals, Tug Valley cruised past Pendleton County, 67-24 and pulled away from Tucker County in the second half en route to a 49-31 victory.

Going into the state tournament, Tug Valley had four players average double figures.

Kaylea Baisden has scored 19 points per game while Makayla May is netting 15.5. Alyssa Newsome (14.4 points) and Audrey Evans (10.7) round out the double figures.

Autumn Hall is scoring just under 10 points per game (9.9).

Baisden led the way for the Panthers in their semifinal game against Tucker County with 17 points while May had 16. Newsome scored 10 points.

“They have a nice, solid five that can get up and down the court really well,” Pettit said. “Everywhere from their point guard to their post player. They run the floor well, they see the floor well and they shoot the ball well. We know it’s going to be a physical game for us. Tug is a very physical basketball team.”

The Dragons didn’t have the best offensive performance against the Blue Dons, shooting only 25%. However, it was Aubre Cain-Loy that provided a spark for them in the first quarter by hitting two 3-pointers. Kenzie Clutter provided it in the first eight minutes in the semifinals as she scored 10 points.

Ashlynn VanTassell has grabbed 14 boards in both contests. She also was the leading scorer against Madonna with 14 points.

Against Calhoun County, Lili Neely provided 17 points and had a huge fourth quarter scoring (seven points) to lift the Dragons.

“I think that our girls can keep right up with (Tug Valley),” Pettit said. “We’re tough and we’re scrappy. I think defensively, if we can limit their scoring and disrupt their offense, that we should definitely be in the basketball game.”

It has been a great past two weeks for the Cameron community. With the Dragons playing for a state championship today, the boys basketball team punched their ticket to the state tournament for the first time in school history.

During the state wrestling championship, Cameron took second place overall as a team with Ian Bush winning an individual title.

“I think it’s a great day to be a Dragon. Actually, a great few weeks to be a Dragon,” Pettit said. “The people at Cameron, we know that they are so proud and they support all the kids in any way that they can. I just think it goes back to that hometown pride. The support that the community shows is just unreal. As a coach and also a member of the community, I’m proud to be part of it.”

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