Wildcats claw down Bobcats for county tourney victory
By Bart Moss for the FCT
Finals- Tharptown 59, Phil Campbell 54
In sports, when the target is on your back, winning games is never easy – especially when you face a scrappy and improving rival in the finals of your county tournament. That was exactly the case Saturday night when the Tharptown Wildcats held off the Phil Campbell Bobcats to capture their second straight Franklin County championship.
“This is the way you want the finals of this tournament to be,” said Tharptown coach Jonathan Odom. “We had to fight for everything tonight. Phil Campbell has improved as they’ve got their players back, and they gave us everything they had tonight.”
“Tharptown is a very good basketball team, and we played right there with them tonight and didn’t back down,” said Phil Campbell coach Brett Thomas. “I am proud of our guys. They have nothing to hang their heads about.”
Neither team shot the ball particularly well in the first half. Tharptown led Phil Campbell 11-4 at the end of the first quarter and 19-15 at halftime. Both teams started hitting baskets in the second half. Phil Campbell would find the hot hand first, outscoring Tharptown 19-12 in the third quarter to take a 34-31 lead going into the final period of play. Both teams scored more points in the fourth quarter than they did the entire first half. Tharptown outscored Phil Campbell 28-20 in the final quarter – most of which came from the free throw line as both teams got more aggressive driving to the basket.
Tharptown’s Max Nolen led all scorers with 25 points – half came in the fourth quarter in the form of free throws. Others scoring for the Wildcats were Heath Hatton (9), Blake Gray (7), Bailey Motes (7), Nathan Chaney (5), Mikey Rosson (5) and Matthew Brasuell (1).
Peyton Thomas led Phil Campbell with 21 points. He was followed by Noah Williams and Gage Roberson, who scored 11 points each. Others scoring for Phil Campbell were Hayden Copeland (7) and Jacob Anthony (4).
Semifinals – Phil Campbell 73, Belgreen 52
The Phil Campbell Bobcats exploded out of the gate, building a 14 point lead in the first quarter to advance to the finals of the Franklin County Tournament.
The Bobcats outscored the Bulldogs in each of the games four quarters. Phil Campbell outscored Belgreen 24-10 in the first quarter. The Bobcats extended their lead to 41-25 by halftime and to 58-40 in the third quarter.
Peyton Thomas led Phil Campbell with 29 points. He was followed by Hayden Copeland, who scored 14 points. Others scoring for the Bobcats were Noah Williams (8), Grant Masterson (6), Gage Roberson (5), Joe Hardy (5), Jacob Anthony (3) and Thomas Baker (3).
Brant Bragwell led Belgreen with 11 points. Others scoring for Belgreen were Payton Scott (7), Joseph Welch (7), Adam Green (6), Seth Taylor (6), Drew Boshell (6), Mason Bragwell (5) and Eli Hiser (4).
Semifinals- Tharptown 66, Red Bay 48
The Tharptown Wildcats overcame a sluggish start and a pesky Red Bay Tiger team to advance to the finals of the Franklin County Tournament. Tharptown held just a two-point advantage with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. However, the Wildcats went on a 19-0 run to close the first half and open the second half to pull away from the Tigers.
Tharptown led Red Bay 14-10 at the end of the first quarter. With the help of a pair of three-pointers to close the second half, the Wildcats extended their lead to 35-25 at the end of the first half. The Wildcats began to pull away in the third quarter, leading 52-35 at the end of the period.
Blake Gray and Bailey Motes led Tharptown with 18 points and 17 points, respectively. Mikey Rosson followed with 12 points. Others scoring for the Wildcats were Nathan Chaney with nine points, Max Nolen with eight points, and Matthew Brasuell with two points.
Red Bay’s Tate Ozbirn led all scorers with 23 points. He was followed by Dylan Pearson with ten points. Others scoring for the Tigers were Levi McNatt with eight points, Chandler Allen with five points, and Austin Milam with two points.
Quarterfinals – Red Bay 50, Vina 14
The Red Bay Tigers jumped out to a 29-12 first half lead and coasted to a win over the Vina Red Devils in the quarterfinals of the Franklin County Tournament. The Tigers held the Red Devils to just two points in the second half.
Levi McNatt led Red Bay with 26 points. He was followed by Tate Ozbirn with 12 points. Chandler Allen added eight points, and Dylan Pearson had four points for the Tigers.
For Vina, Corbin Triplett scored five points, Joseph Emerson had four points, Chance Griffith netted three points and Ryder Steele scored two points.