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franklin county times

Basketball season begins for Tharptown Wildcats


Sonny Conwill enters his second season as the head coach of the Tharptown Wildcats boys basketball team this year. Conwill, who was hired right at the start of the season this past year, has had time to develop relationships and add some players to his roster.

“It was tough coming in at the last minute last year,” said Conwill. “The guys were deflated with a lot of uncertainty. We did the best we could last year under the circumstances.

“We have a year under our belts now. We’ve got some good kids out to play basketball, and they are learning and growing.”

Tharptown returns a nucleus of Edwin Garcia, Dylan Valdez, Malachi Minor and Jackson Clement. With the addition of Dylan Dolley, Hunter Motes, Dalton Maldanado and Dawson Higgins, Conwill said he expects his team to improve as the year progresses.

“We have some good athletes playing this year,” said Conwill. “We have a chance to have a good season if we are coachable, work hard and give our best effort.”

The Wildcats are guard heavy and will rely on full court pressure and defense to create offense.

“We have to use our athleticism to our advantage,” Conwill explained. “Good defense will generate offense. We have to limit teams to one shot and protect the basketball on our end.”

Tharptown competes in Class 2A, Area 16, with Lexington, Mars Hill, Sheffield and Hatton.


Tanna Benford and her Tharptown Wildcats enjoyed mixed success this past year. In-county, the Wildcats dominated by ending Phil Campbell’s years of dominance; however, in the area, the Wildcats struggled.

The Tharptown girls sent signals early on they were going to make noise in county, beating the Bobcats by 20 on their home court. They went on to beat Red Bay and Belgreen and win the county tournament, beating Phil Campbell in a thriller final.

If Tharptown is going to repeat that success, the girls will have to do it without Gracie Montgomery, the team’s leading scorer and four-year starter.

The bright spot is that Montgomery was the lone player lost. Benford returns four starters: point guard Autumn Montgomery, guard Kaitlyn Simmons, forward Savannah Romans and center Sarah Mansell.

“We have some good players returning with a lot of playing experience,” said Benford. “We have to protect the ball, stay out of foul trouble and rebound the basketball.”

Tharptown will also rely on experienced depth of Harleigh Borden, Kyndall Morgan and Alissa Abbott.

“We will have to work very hard and play very smart,” said Benford. “We have a chance to have a good season if we will focus on what is important and play as a team.”

Tharptown competes in Class 2A, Area 16, with Hatton, Lexington, Mars Hill and Sheffield.


1          Charlie Montgomery

3          Autumn Montgomery

4          Savannah Romans

10        Abby Wilson

12        Aalivia Wilson

13        Kaitlyn Simmons

14        Harleigh Borden

22        Alyssa Abbott

24        Ashton Tharp

32        Kyndall Morgan

34        Alyssa Fischer

35        Sarah Mansell


1 Malachi Minor, Junior

4 Dylan Dolley, Junior

10 Dawson Higgins, Junior

11Jackson Clement, Junior

12 Dalton Maldonado, Sophomore

14 Edwin Vela, Junior

22Hunter Motes, Junior

23Dylan Valdez, Junior

33Israel Sanchez, Junior

40 Maddox Cochran, Sophomore


Nov. 10 Belgreen – Home

Nov. 11 Danville – Away

Nov. 15 Lindsay Lane – Home

Nov. 17 Colbert Heights – Away

Nov. 18 East Lawrence – Away

Nov. 21 Thanksgiving Classic (Boys) – Home

Nov. 28 Red Bay – Away

Nov. 29 Shoals Christian – Home

Dec. 2 Phil Campbell – Home

Dec. 6 Belgreen – Away

Dec. 9 Hatton – Away

Dec. 13 Hackleburg – Away

Dec. 15 Mars Hill – Home

Dec. 16 Lindsay Lane – Away

Dec. 20 Sheffield – Home

Dec. 22 at Lexington – Away

Dec. 27-29 West Morgan Tourney (Girls) – Away

Jan. 3 Hatton – Home

Jan. 6 Lexington – Home

Jan. 9 Colbert Heights – Home

Jan. 10-14 County Tournament – Away

Jan. 16 MLK Classic – Athens Bible – Wallace State

Jan. 20 Sheffield – Away

Jan. 23 Mars Hill – Away

Jan. 24 Phil Campbell – Away

Jan. 27 Red Bay – Home

Jan. 30 Danville – Home

Jan. 31 Hackleburg – Home

Feb. 3 Shoals Christian – Away

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