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Tharptown hands Phil Campbell first county loss in four years

Friday night the Tharptown Wildcats did something no other team in Franklin County has been able to do in four years: beat Phil Campbell.

The Phil Campbell girls basketball program, led by Craig Thomas, has dominated teams in the county for a long time, winning regular season games and the Franklin County Tournament repeatedly. The Tharptown girls basketball program, led by former Phil Campbell star basketball player Tanna Benford, was able to finally end that dominance, beating her alma mater 56-36.

“It was a great win for us,” said Benford. “Phil Campbell has been at the top of Franklin County girls basketball for the past several years. Because of their past success, seeing that Phil Campbell across their chest can be a mental block going into the game for our girls.”

Tharptown led Phil Campbell 11-10 at the end of the first quarter.

Back-to-back three pointers by Gracie and Autumn Montgomery early in the second quarter gave the Wildcats a 17-14 lead.

A steal and layup by Gracie Montgomery extended that lead to 19-14 with just more than two minutes to go in the first half, and Tharptown led 20-15 at halftime.

“I told the girls at halftime that Phil Campbell wasn’t just going to go away,” said Benford.

And they didn’t.

Phil Campbell senior Faith Cook hit a layup to start the third quarter and cut Tharptown’s lead to 20-17.

Tharptown senior Gracie Montgomery answered with back-to-back baskets, and junior Sarah Mansell added two free throws to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 27-19.

Cook single-handedly kept the Bobcats in the game through the third quarter. She hit a layup that stopped Tharptown’s run and then hit back-to-back three pointers to close out the third quarter and cut the Wildcats’ lead to 33-28.

Cook wasn’t done, knocking down another three to start the fourth quarter, cutting Tharptown’s lead to two points, 33-31.

“Even this season, when we’ve had a lead late in the game, we’ve panicked a little and lost the lead completely with turnovers and bad shots,” Benford explained. “When they cut it to two, we stayed disciplined in what we were trying to do without panicking.”

Tharptown’s lone senior stopped the slide. Gracie Montgomery hit a running jumper to make the score 35-31. A technical foul put Montgomery on the line, where she rarely misses. She sank two to extend the lead to 37-31.

Junior Autumn Montgomery made a layup to extend the lead to 39-31. Two free throws by junior Sarah Mansell extended the lead to 41-31, and just like that, Tharptown was on the way, outscoring the Bobcats 23-8 in the fourth quarter and putting the game away.

Gracie Montgomery led Tharptown with 19 points, followed by her sister Autumn with 16 points. The two sisters combined for 17 of Tharptown’s 23 fourthquarter points.

Sarah Mansell added 12 points. Harleigh Borden added five points, and Kaitlyn Simmons chipped in two points.

Phil Campbell’s Faith Cook led all scorers with 22 points, making five threepointers. Madison Branch added nine points, Allie Herring four points and Hannah Welborn one point.

BOYS

Phil Campbell 78, Tharptown 47

Phil Campbell jumped out to a big firsthalf lead over the Tharptown Wildcats and held on for a dominating 78-47 win.

Phil Campbell led 48-23 at the half and 62-35 at the end of the third quarter.

Bryant Hyde led the Bobcats with 20 points. He was followed by Quentin Hyde and Canaan Clay with 14 points and 13 points, respectively. Sage Raper added nine points, Kyle Pace seven points, Cam Habada seven points, Blain Goodson six points and Seth Hutcheson five points.

Tharptown’s Dylan Valdez led all scorers with 24 points. Malachi Minor added 10 points. Luis Valdez and Tyler Amos added four points each. Edwin Vela had three points, and Blake Daily got two points.

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