Tharptown, Red Bay split
THARPTOWN — The Red Bay Tigers got off to a slow start, losing several games this season after having to step off of the gridiron and onto the hardwood.
The Tharptown Wildcats have been having a decent year, but victories over the top teams in their area still elude them.
The two teams ended up playing each other in consecutive games spread across two nights on Friday and Monday.
Friday night’s game was a makeup that had to be rescheduled twice due to weather. Monday night’s contest happened to be as scheduled, and Tharptown defeated their county opponent on both nights.
Friday night’s game ended with the Wildcats on top 61-42, but Monday’s game would prove to be much, much closer.
Tharptown and Red Bay could not buy a shot between them in the Wildcats’ 39-36 win.
The only thing that separated the teams in the end was a 3-pointer by Kelby Hallmark of Tharptown, which gave the Wildcats their lead and the win when the final buzzer sounded.
“We both hit the rim more than anything else,” Tharptown head coach Jonathan Odom said.
“Kelby hit a big shot at the end and they couldn’t answer.”
The game featured five lead changes, and the biggest lead of the night was a 16-10 advantage by Red Bay midway through the second quarter.
The Wildcats led early on in the second before being supplanted by Red Bay.
The Tigers led 8-6 at the end of the first quarter, and things went much the same for both teams in the second period.
The Tigers were up 18-14 at the break after leading the entire second quarter, but Tharptown went ahead 21-20 close to the start of the third.
Two-thirds of the way through the quarter Red Bay was back on top 25-24, and the Tigers extended this lead to 31-26.
Neither team got much offense going throughout the contest. That and the combined efforts on defense kept the scoring low.
The key to Tharptown’s victory would be the fourth quarter, as they outscored Red Bay 11-5 in the closing eight minutes.
The game was tied at 34-34 when Hallmark made is aforementioned shot.
With time running down, the Tigers elected to attempt to steal Tharptown’s in-bounds pass or foul the player who caught it.
Tharptown was not in bonus yet, so the Tigers got a few tries at it. It was on the third attempt, and the last before the Wildcats were in bonus, that Barry Reach stole the in-bounds, and Red Bay called a timeout.
However, the following play by the Tigers failed to result in any points, and they were forced to foul Tharptown’s Max Nolen with just seconds left on the clock.
Nolen hit both free throws on a one and one, icing the game in the Wildcats’ favor.
Red Bay’s Tra Ellott made the final score what it was by driving the court and making a layup as time expired, but it was Tharptown that would pick up another win.
“Max making those free throws was big for us,” Odom said. “We knew we had to get the ball in and make free throws when they fouled us.”
“We just couldn’t score in the fourth quarter,” Red Bay head coach Greg Cash said.
“It is what it is.”
Hallmark led the Wildcats in points with 16. He also had 7 rebounds. Riley Nolen had 5 and Patrick Tharp contributed 5.
Also scoring for Tharptown were Colton Blankenship (4 points, 5 rebounds) and Max Nolen (2).
Michael Ramirez was the leading scorer for Red Bay with 12 points and 5 rebounds on the night.
Also scoring for the Tigers were: Levi Humphres (9 points, 10 rebounds), Reach (5 points, 6 rebounds), Elliott (4), Austin Thorn (3) and Kyle Fuller (3).
Red Bay Lady Tigers 56, Tharptown 27
Things were a different story for the girls’ games, as it was Red Bay that swept Tharptown over the past two meetings.
Friday night’s final was 64-38, and the end result of Monday’s game was 56-27.
The Lady Tigers got off to a great start Monday night with a 22-8 advantage after the first quarter.
By halftime the score line was much the same, as the Lady Tigers led 40-16.
“Tonight I was more concerned about keeping our players from getting injured,” Red Bay head coach Donnie Roberts said. “By the end of the third all of our starters were out. It’s tough to play the same opponent three times in a season, especially twice in four days.”
The Lady Tigers did not hit the 30-point lead mark by the end of the third quarter at 52-23, but much of the fourth and final quarter was played with a running clock.
In the end the Lady Tigers came away with the 29-point win over their county foe.
“They’re pretty good,” Tharptown head coach Chad Green said. “It does us well to play against a team of Red Bay’s caliber. We won’t see anyone as good as them until after the area tournament.”
Allie Kennedy led Red Bay in points with 15. Carlee Berry had 11, and Elizabeth Wooten, Lexy Lindsey and Kasey Sparks all tied with 6 apiece.
Also scoring for the Lady Tigers were: Alaina Hester (4), Morgan Pierce (3), Holly Hardin (2), Brooklyn Bolton (2) and Darby Madden (1).