Tharptown moves on to Wallace StatePublished 5:59am Saturday, February 18, 2012
For the Franklin County Times
THARPTOWN — The Tharptown Lady Lady Wildcats will be making their first-ever trip to the Northwest Regional at Wallace-Hanceville after defeating Covenant Christian 48-42 in sub-region play on Thursday night.
“I’m so proud of these girls,” Tharptown head coach Chad Green said. “They have worked so hard for this. The seniors have shown great leadership throughout the season to get us to this point.”
Senior Brae Sellers led the Lady Wildcats in scoring with 13 points. Kamri Sears was also in double figures with 12 points.
The Lady Wildcats used a balanced scoring attack and focused defensive attack to earn the win and a Tuesday evening matchup with the Lynn Bears at Wallace State-Hanceville Community College.
“We had to play a good defensive game against (Anna Claire) Noblitt to have a chance,” Green said. “Even though she scored 24 I think we did a good job because she has been scoring 30 or more in games. I think she had to earn every point tonight.”
Green employed a full-court, double-team pressure focused specifically on Noblitt for much of the night.
“Danielle (Creasy) and Erika (Sparks) were assigned to Noblitt most of the night, and they did a great job.”
Covenant Christian led Tharptown 16-13 at the end of the first quarter and extended that lead to 18-13 early in the second. Sears hit a pull-up jump shot from the free throw line to give Tharptown a 21-20 lead with 2:32 remaining in the first half.
Sparks drained a 3-pointer as time expired to give the Lady Wildcats a 24-20 lead at halftime.
Tharptown extended their lead to 26-21 with a couple of free throws early in the third quarter, but it would be four and a half minutes before either team would score again.
When the scoring did resume it was Covenant’s Noblitt who hit two-straight shots to tie the game 26-26 with 1:27 to go in the third quarter. Tharptown was able to regain the lead 29-26 to end the third quarter.
Chloe Lane hit a 3-pointer with 5:15 to go to give the Lady Wildcats their biggest lead of the game at 37-30.
It appeared Tharptown had the game in hand late, but Noblitt drained a 25-foot 3-pointer with 0:44 to go in the game to cut the lead to 44-42. The Lady Wildcats, however, were able to hang on to achieve a goal they set back in early October.
“This is just an awesome experience,” Sellers said. “At the beginning of the season each player set goals and everyone of us said we wanted to go to Wallace. We did it.”
Sparks echoed those sentiments saying, “Amazing! We have worked so hard. It makes all of the running, weightlifting, and tough practices worth it.”
“I’ll never forget this night,” Lane said. “We are a close group of girls and we wanted this so bad. I can’t wait to get to Wallace and see what we can do there. I know the competition is going to be tough but we are going to go compete.
“We are one of the final 16 teams left in 1A. That is a great accomplishment.”