NAUGATUCK — The Tug Valley High School girls’ basketball team had a very successful season during the re-boot of the Clyde Farley era a year ago as they finished with a 17-8 record, advanced to the section championship game, and finished up one game from the girls’ state tournament in Charleston.

Fast forward to the 2019-20 season, and with all five starters returning, the longtime Mingo County ball coach is extremely excited for the new season.

“I’m super excited, we all are,” Farley said. “We feel like that we are picking up exactly where we left off last year, in a very good way. Everybody has worked hard on their game in the off-season to improve. We’re just super excited and glad to be back at it.”

Sophomore point guard Kaylea Baisden is back to lead the Lady Panthers after an impressive freshman season that saw her garner Second Team Class A All-State honors at season’s end.

She averaged a team high 16.3 points, to go along with 5.8 assists, four rebounds, and 3.5 steals. She will be joined by juniors Makayla May and Alyssa Newsome both of who have been named Honorable Mention All-State each of their first two seasons for TVHS.

May averaged averaged a double-double with 11.2 points and 10.2 rebounds last season as a sophomore while Newsome also averaged 11 points and led the team in free-throw percentage shooting 76 percent from the charity stripe.

Sophomore forwards Brooklyn Evans and Autumn Hall are also returning and will round out the starting five after they both started in all 25 games as a freshman for coach Farley. Evans averaged 6.4 points and seven rebounds per game while Hall averaged 3.6 points but led the team in rebounds averaging 10.4 a game.

“We really feel like our starting five holds us really well against anybody,” Farley said of his first five. “Now we are going to have to develop a little bit of a bench, our bench is maybe not as strong going into the season but I really feel like we are going to develop that as the season goes on.

“But our starting five is very versatile, we take each others place. Actually, most of the offenses we run everybody ends up in everybody’s spot..and we feel comfortable with that, we feel comfortable with the mismatches.”

Tug Valley lost three players that contributed off the bench a year ago as Kyra Justice and Jenna Wagoner both transferred and sophomore Cassidy Griffey decided to not come out for the team to focus on softball.

But Farley said he expects sophomore Audrey Evans to step into some big minutes off the bench this season and he also expects a couple of incoming freshmen to earn some minutes as the season goes on.

Last season the Lady Panthers played an exciting up-and-down brand of basketball as they averaged 58 points per game, scored over 60 points in 12 of their games, and topped the 70-point mark five times. Coach Farley says they will play the same style this season, and maybe even turn it up a notch.

“We are absolutely going to play run-and-gun, and we’re going to shoot a bunch of 3’s,” coach Farley said. “We’re going to trap and press and try to let that transition into some easy offense for us. I’m hoping to press more than we did last year, I’m hoping to play that regardless of who we play. No matter how good their ball handlers are I’m hoping to turn that pressure up a notch and make them uncomfortable. We’re going to be in condition, we’ve already been working on that. We’re ready to go.”

Farley said that they have focused on the defensive side of the ball in particular leading into the season, and that they have input a who new system on that side of the ball.

With the success they saw a season ago, coach Farley beefed up his team’s schedule in the off-season as they will face a challenging slate of games to prepare them for the postseason.

“The schedule is tough this year, we open up at Wayne who was in the state tournament in AA, we close out with Class AAA Spring Valley,” Farley said. “We added Mingo Central back to the schedule this year, we’re still playing Lawrence County as far as Kentucky schools.

“We’re playing Meigs County, Ohio at Rio Grande and we are playing Williamstown at WV State to get the girls some exposure. We’re playing Summers County at Logan and then we are playing a couple of AAA school’s when we play in the Sissonville tournament. Our schedule is tough and will have us prepared at season’s end.”

The Lady Panthers also will play contests against Class AAA St. Albans, Class AA Man, Grace Christian out of Huntington, Elkview Christian and sectional foes Tolsia, Sherman, and Van.

While coach Farley is only entering into his second year of this current stint as head coach, he is no stranger to the sidelines in Naugatuck as he previously coached the Tug Valley girls’ program from 1999-2004.

During that tenure, he led the team to a 67-27 record and back-to-back berths in the Class AA State Tournament at the Charleston Civic Center. Add his 17 wins and 8 losses to his all-time marks, and he boasts a career record of 84-35 at TVHS.

Farley is once again assisted this season by Christa Hall and he also added Tug Valley graduate Seth Ooten to his staff.

The Lady Panthers opened their season on Dec. 3 at Wayne. They will then play their first home contest on Dec. 9 against sectional foe Sherman.

2019-20 Tug Valley Lady Panthers Basketball Schedule

12/03 7:00PM A — WAYNE

12/09 7:00PM H — SHERMAN

12/16 7:00PM A — MAN HIGH SCHOOL

12/21 TBDPM A — MEIGS, OHIO H.S.

12/27 TBDPM A — ST. ALBANS HIGH SCHOOL

12/28 TBDPM A — ELKVIEW CHRISTIAN

01/04 TBDPM A — SUMMERS COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL

01/06 7:00PM H — GRACE CHRISTIAN

01/09 7:00PM H — TOLSIA

01/13 7:00PM A — SHERMAN

01/16 7:00PM H — MAN HIGH SCHOOL

01/20 7:00PM A — LAWRENCE,KY H.S.

01/21 5:30PM H — MINGO CENTRAL

01/30 7:00PM A — TOLSIA

02/01 6:00PM A — MINGO CENTRAL

02/03 7:00PM H — VAN SENIOR/MIDDLE SCHOOL

02/06 7:00PM H — LAWRENCE,KY H.S.

02/07 6:00PM A — GRACE CHRISTIAN

02/10 7:00PM A — VAN SENIOR/MIDDLE SCHOOL

02/12 TBDPM A — WILLIAMSTOWN

02/17 7:00PM H — SPRING VALLEY

Tug Valley Lady Panthers

Name # Grade Ht.

Brooklyn Farley 3 11 5’7”

Makayla May 42 11 5’9”

Alyssa Newsome 20 11 5’5”

Kaylea Baisden 20 10 5’8”

Audrey Evans 32 10 5’4”

Brooklyn Evans 24 10 5’9”

Autumn Hall 13 10 5’8”

Kyleigh Hall 14 10 5’9”

Karli Ward 5 10 5”11”

Kristen Fields 11 9 5’11”

Haley Gillman 1 9 5’10”

Dasondra Jude 21 9 5’3”

Kennadi Mollett 23 9 5”6”

Jarrid McCormick is a reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.