Wildcats roll past Mt. Hope

By Staff
Mike Self, FCT Sports Editor
THARPTOWN – With construction nearing completion on their brand new basketball gym, the Tharptown Wildcats gave their old gym a proper send-off on Monday.
Playing at home for the final time this season, the Wildcats broke open a close game with a huge second quarter and went on to a 67-46 rout of Mt. Hope.
Manny Ricardo scored 17 points and Trevor Hallmark added 16 for Tharptown, which led by just one before out-scoring the Yellow Jackets 27-6 in the second quarter.
"We settled down a little bit, and all of our guys did a good job of attacking the basket," Tharptown coach Jonathan Odom said. "We drove inside instead of settling for contested jump shots, and we were able to get to the foul line a lot."
The Wildcats were 14-for-21 from the line in the first half, including a combined 12-for-13 by Ricardo and Hallmark.
With starting forward Tyler Cagle out sick, Ricardo stepped up with nine first-quarter points to help the Wildcats take a 15-14 lead.
"I told Manny before the game that he was going to have to step up with Tyler being out," Odom said. "He really came through for us. He was aggressive in taking the ball to the hole, and he got to the foul line and made his free throws."
Leading by one at the end of the first quarter, Tharptown quickly took control. Hallmark had five points (all from the foul line) and Justin Graves added four as the Wildcats opened the second quarter on a 13-2 run, opening up a 28-16 lead.
The margin grew to 15 at 33-18 on a three-pointer by Mackinley Flannagin, and another trey by Wade Berryman made it 40-20 with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
Ricardo capped off the big second quarter with a layup at the buzzer, giving the Wildcats a 22-point halftime lead.
After scoring 14 points in the first quarter, Mt. Hope managed just 14 points total in the second and third quarters. The Yellow Jackets went cold from the perimeter, and Drew Ergle led a strong effort by Tharptown on the defensive glass.
"They were one of the few teams we could match up with size for size," Odom said. "Most of the time we're going up against somebody who's a lot bigger than us. Tonight, our guys did a good job of boxing out and holding them to one shot."
Tharptown led 52-28 after three quarters, and Mt. Hope got no closer than 17 points in the fourth.
Ergle and Flannagin each finished with eight points. Devin Lawson had seven, and Graves added six. Berryman had three points, and Zack Sockwell added two.
Tharptown was scheduled to play at Mt. Hope Tuesday night.
Varsity girls
Mt. Hope 41 Tharptown 37-OT
The Lady Wildcats rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit and led late in the fourth quarter before Mt. Hope prevailed in overtime.
Tharptown's Hollie Hines finished with 21 points, including a three-point play with 3:15 left in regulation that gave the Lady Wildcats a 34-31 lead.
Mt. Hope surged back in front 35-34, but Hines made a free throw with 49 seconds remaining and the game went into overtime.
Mt. Hope's Laura Rutherford scored four of her team-high 14 points in the extra period as the Lady Yellow Jackets out-scored Tharptown 6-2 to earn the win.
Mt. Hope led 20-6 midway through the second quarter, but a three-pointer by Heather Hatton helped spark an 11-2 run by Tharptown to close the first half. The Lady Wildcats trailed 22-17 at halftime.
Tharptown took its first lead of the night at 25-24 on a three-point play by Hines with 1:30 left in the third quarter.
Heather Hatton and Autumn Hatton each had five points for Tharptown, and Lauren Scott added four.
Tamara Robinson had 12 points for Mt. Hope, and Haley Flanagin added 10.

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