Tharptown boys, girls hosting area tournaments for first time

By Staff
Scot Beard
THARPTOWN – Sometimes it is easy for a squad to become the first to reach an accomplishment when a program is as new as the Tharptown varsity basketball program.
As each year ticks past, both the boys and girls squads will reach milestones neither program has been to before.
Both squads did something this season, however, that is difficult for most schools in the state – to win a regular-season area title and earn the right to host the area tournament.
"It's been a long-time coming," said boys coach Jonathan Odom. "We took our lumps, but the competition we have played has helped."
The girls program reached the sub-regional round of the playoffs last season – the first Tharptown team ever, boys or girls, to get that far – but they had to travel to Belgreen for the area tournament.
Lady Wildcats coach Chad Green said his team is eager to play at home this year.
"It's nice, the girls have worked hard al year long," Green said. "We're excited about hosting the area tournament."
The two squads took different routes to get there, but both teams are happy about the home-court advantage.
The Wildcats won the area outright by finishing 5-1 in area play, two games ahead of Phillips and Vina.
The Lady Wildcats also finished 5-1, but that was only good enough for a tie with Belgreen, which is ranked No. 2 in Class 1A. The tie was broken by a coin toss and Tharptown won the top seed.
Odom said his team plays better when it does not have to travel, so he is happy with the title.
"We are 7-3 at home," he said. "We play more calm and collected at home."
Playing at home could also be a big benefit to the girls team as well since the Lady Wildcats defeated Belgreen at Tharptown last week.
The girls team will begin its tournament Feb. 4 when it plays Vina at 6 p.m. The boys team will play its first game Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. against Belgreen.
Since class 1A, Area 15 is a four-team region both squads only have to win one game in the area tournament to secure a spot in the sub-regional round.
While both teams are the top seed, crazy things can happen and it is possible both teams could be upset. Green said he would talk with his team about it closer to the start of the tournament.
"When it comes to the first game of the area tournament, you play or you go home," Green said.