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Basketball season for Tharptown Wildcats – Class 2A, Area 14


Tanna Benford is excited about her Tharptown Wildcats team this year, and may would agree she has every reason to be. She returns four starters, including a veteran leading scorer in Gracie Montgomery.

Montgomery has been Tharptown’s leading scorer for the past three years and eclipsed the 1000 career point mark this past year.

“Obviously, we will be looking to Gracie to be our team leader,” said Benford. “She is a senior, and she has tons of experience.”

Montgomery averaged 17 points per game this past season.

What makes this year’s team different is the overall wealth of varsity level experience.

“We went into last season with just one returning starter and not a lot of varsity experience,” said Benford. “This year we have four returning starters and a seasoned team.”

Junior Autumn Montgomery will lead the team at the point guard position. The younger Montgomery averaged eight points per game and three steals. Junior Sarah Mansell will be a dominant presence in the post, where she averaged seven points and six rebounds last season.


Sonny Conwill has some catching up to do to get his Tharptown basketball team to where he wants it to be.  Conwill was hired to take over the Tharptown boys basketball program on the first official day of varsity basketball practice after the abrupt resignation of Bobby Champagne.

“I have really enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm of these guys so far,” said Conwill, who was head coach at R.A. Hubbard and Hatton before coming to Tharptown. “We got off to a late start with my hiring in October, but we are progressing nicely. With the youth at guard, they will only get better as the season progresses, and our seniors have provided great leadership.

Conwill will start three sophomore guards and two seniors in the post. He said having a good mixture of talent and experience gives him cause for optimism.

“Malachi Minor will start at point and is a quick, athletic point with good size for a 2A point guard,” Conwill explained. “Edwin Vela and Dylan Valdez will start at wings. Both are very good shooters and bring great energy defensively.

“Blake Daily is our power forward – very hardnosed, physical player who is relentless on the glass. Tyler Amos is our center. He missed last year with an ACL injury but is healthy again and gives us good size with the ability to score points in the paint.”

Conwill said he believes once he and his team get on the same page and get some game experience, they have a chance to compete in the area.

“This is a team that has a chance to be dangerous at area tourney time if we stay healthy,” said Conwill. “I’ve been very pleased with how well they play together and how quickly they have picked things up. I look forward to watching these guys play this season.”

Tharptown competes in Class 2A, Area 14, with Hatton, Tanner and Whitesburg Christian.



2– Luis Valdez 

3– Jackson Clement 

11– Tyler Amos 

14– Edwin Vela 

21– Israel Sanchez 

22– Malachi Minor

23– Dylan Valdez

24– Alexis Quezada

40– Blake Daily 


3– Autumn Montgomery

4– Savannah Romans

10– Pamela Saint

11– Harleigh Borden

12– Aalivia Wilson

13– Kaitlyn Simmons

14– Gracie Montgomery

22– Alyssa Abbott

23– Courtney Smith

24– Ashton Tharp

32– Amerie Villalobos

34– Lizzy Duncan

35– Sarah Mansell