County boys compete in Area tournaments
By Bart Moss for the FCT
Mars Hill 75, Tharptown 72 (Finals, 2A Area 16)
The last two meetings between the Tharptown Wildcats and the Mars Hill Panthers have been epic shootouts. The first of those last two meetings came late in the season, where Tharptown just edged out Mars Hill. The second of those two meetings came in the area finals, and this time Mars Hill got the win and the area championship, 75-72.
The Wildcats had a shot to send the game into overtime, but the shot bounced off the front of the rim, sending Tharptown on the road to Tanner for a rematch of last year’s subregion game.
“It is a tough loss for us,” said Tharptown Coach Jonathan Odom. “We had our opportunities to win the game but just couldn’t take advantage of them. We missed too many free throws. In a tight game against a good opponent you just can’t do that.”
“Our guys are looking forward to a rematch with Tanner,” said Odom. “It might be a good thing for us to go on the road. The pressure is on Tanner. They are the home team, and there is a lot that goes with hosting these games. We just get show up and play basketball.”
Mars Hill jumped out to an early 22-17 first quarter lead in the game. Tharptown bounced back in the second quarter with a vengeance, outscoring Mars Hill 26-9 to take a 43-31 halftime lead. Mars Hill outscored Tharptown in the third quarter 21-11 to cut the Wildcats lead to two points, 54-52, going into the final period of play.
Mars Hill led by six with two minutes remaining in the game when Max Nolen hit a three-pointer to cut the Panther lead to 69-66. The two teams traded baskets until Blake Gray cut the lead to one point on two free throws with just under 30 seconds to play in the game, but that is a close as the Wildcats could get in the end.
Gray led the Wildcats with 19 points, followed by Mikey Rosson with 18 points, Bailey Motes with 16 points and Nolen with 15 points. Heath Hatton added four points for Tharptown.
Sulligent 64, Phil Campbell 63 (Finals, 2A Area 15)
The Phil Campbell Bobcats suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the area finals to the Sulligent Blue Devils Friday night. The Bobcats, a team that has steadily improved all season under coach Brett Thomas, fell in the waning seconds to the Bulldogs.
“Just a tough, tough way to lose a game,” said Thomas. “We turned the ball over a few too many times in the second half, and they hit some big contested three point shots.”
Still, Thomas is proud of what his team has accomplished despite numerous setbacks.
“We have been facing adversity all year with sickness and injuries, and the last few weeks we finally had a full healthy squad, and you could tell the difference. They have always played hard and fought to the end, and that is what I love about my team.”
Phil Campbell jumped out to a 17-11 lead in the first quarter. The Bobcats expanded their lead to 31-19 by halftime. Just as the Bobcats owned the first half, the Blue Devils owned the second half, scoring 45 points. Sulligent outscored Phil Campbell 21-17 in the third quarter to cut Phil Campbell’s lead to 48-40. Sulligent outscored Phil Campbell 24-15 in the fourth quarter to take the win.
Peyton Thomas led Phil Campbell with 21 points, including hitting eight of 1ten free throws in the fourth quarter. Hayden Copeland had 14 points, and Gage Roberson had ten points. Others scoring for the Bobcats were Noah Williams (7), Joe Hardy (7), Jacob Anthony (3) and Grant Masterson (2).
The Bobcats travel to Altamont Tuesday night for the subregion contest and a chance to go to the Northwest Regionals.
Covenant Christian 80, Belgreen 56 (Semifinals, 1A Area 15)
The Belgreen Bulldogs were eliminated from area competition last week by the hot-shooting Covenant Christian Eagles. Covenant Christian scored 52 points in the first half to build a 20-point lead over the Bulldogs.
Brant Bragwell led Belgreen with 14 points. He was followed by Drew Boshell and Jacob Mayberry, who finished with 11 points and 10 points respectively. Others scoring for the Bulldogs were Mason Bragwell (8), Joseph Welch (5), Peyton Scott (4), Seth Taylor (2) and Eli Hiser (2).
Tharptown 79, Cherokee 49 (Semifinals, 2A Area 16)
The Tharptown Wildcats easily advanced to the finals of their area tournament by defeating Cherokee 79-49. The win set up a finals rematch with the Mars Hill Panthers.
Tharptown led Cherokee 20-11 at the end of the first and 41-29 at halftime. The Wildcats pulled away in the third quarter to outscore the Indians 26-14 to take a 67-43 lead into the final period of play.
Bailey Motes led Tharptown with 25 points. Max Nolen and Blake Gray followed with 17 points and 15 points respectively. Others scoring for the Wildcats were Heath Hatton (9), Braden Key (6), Nathan Chaney (3), Levi McCormack (2), Cole Daniel (2) and Mikey Rosson (1).
Belgreen 81, Vina 31 (Quarterfinals, 1A Area 15)
The Belgreen Bulldogs eliminated the Vina Red Devils from area competition early last week with an 81-31 victory. The win propelled the Bulldogs to the semi-finals, where they faced Covenant Christian.
Payton Scott and Mason Bragwell led Belgreen with 14 points and 12 points respectively. Others scoring for the Bulldogs were Joseph Welch (9), Brant Bragwell (8), Jacob Mayberry (7), Grayson Moore (7), Adam Green (6), Nathaniel Rea (6), Drew Boshell (5), Eli Hiser (4) and Seth Taylor.
Ryder Steele led Vina with 19 points. Others scoring for the Red Devils were Bradley Duncan (8), C.J. Savage (4), Blake Hardin (3), Chance Griffith (2), Tanner Miller (2), Josephy Emerson (2) and Jackson Landers (1).