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THS tops Vina in Area Tourney

By Staff
Slade Gilmer
BEAR CREEK – The Tharptown Wildcats used a big second half to turn a competitive game into a rout, defeating Vina 68-30 in the first round of the Class 1A, Area 15 Tournament Tuesday night.
Leading 29-19 at the half, the Wildcats' defense shut down Vina, going on a 34-0 run that lasted through much of the second half.
"We've played (Vina) four times, so we were familiar with what they do," said Tharptown coach Jonathan Odom. "We went into a diamond-and-one on (Morgan McCarley), because we knew he was their best shooter and the other players feed off of him."
Tharptown jumped out to an early 9-2 lead, and led 15-5 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Wildcats looked to be pulling away on several occasions, but Vina refused to let Tharptown put the game out of reach.
Odom told his players not to get complacent with a 10-point lead at the half.
"We were up 16 (Friday) night against Red Bay, and by the end of the third quarter, we were behind," said Odom. "I told them to keep their focus and play like they were capable."
Jacob Parker started off the third quarter for Tharptown with a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats a 13-point lead.
Kevin Townsend hit a free throw to cut Tharptown's lead to 32-20 early in the third quarter, but it would be the only point the Red Devils would score for the next 12 minutes. The Wildcats' defense continued to shut down McCarley and the rest of the Red Devil offense, while Tharptown ran off 34 unanswered points.
Curby Swinney ended the run with a short jumper late in the fourth quarter and the Red Devils outscored Tharptown 10-2 to finish the game, but by then the outcome was well in hand.
Every player on the Wildcat roster scored, led by Parker's 12 and Trevor Hallmark's 10. Matt Austin, Tyler Cagle, and Drew Ergle each scored eight, while Manny Ricardo and Mackinley Flannagin dropped in six apiece. Wade Berryman and Brandon Cothrum each added four, and Wesley Borden rounded out the scoring with two.
For Vina, Brent Townsend led the way with nine points. Swinney, Kevin Townsend, Cass White, and Patrick White each scored four, McCarley scored three, and Adam Pharr finished with two.
Tharptown will face top-seed – and Class 1A's second-ranked team – Phillips at 6:30 p.m. tonight.
In the early game, Speake defeated Mount Hope 79-38 and will play second-seeded Belgreen tonight at 5 p.m.