Tharp continues family tradition as Cascade’s senior point guard
By Mike Beas
It seems fitting Mason Tharp makes jumpers, plays defense and dishes assists inside the 2,200-seat octagon where he made some of his earliest memories.
Mason Tharp looks to pass the ball off in a 85-40 loss to Danville Dec. 14. (Photo by Rick Myers)
His family, after all, has history there.
Tharp’s grandfather, John, used to serve as Cascade’s athletic director and girls basketball coach. Mason’s parents, Josh and Katrina (Sanders), both 1998 Cascade graduates, played basketball games and volleyball matches there, respectively.
More recently, 2017 graduate Madi Tharp, Mason’s sister, was a setter for the Cadets’ volleyball team.
“It means a lot to play in there,” said Mason Tharp, the Cadets’ 6-foot-1-inch senior point guard averaged 11.6 points, four rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.3 assists who last season. “Everyone I know comes to watch Cascade play when we play at home.”
Tharp is a throwback of sorts by playing three sports at Cascade. This fall he helped the football program post a 5-6 record as a receiver/defensive back. In the spring, he’ll be among the top players for the boys golf program.
All this and he manages to carry a 3.2 grade-point average. Tharp wants to major in sports management in college and hopes to get the opportunity to play basketball where he attends. He loves catching passes on the gridiron and launching tee shots when the weather warms, but hoops are Tharp’s passion.
“I like the team aspect,” he said. “You have five guys on the floor and they all have different roles. I like to be able to get to the basket or kick it out to other guys.”
Tharp continues to work his way back from breaking his arm during a football practice leading up to the Cadets’ Week 8 home game against Monrovia. He missed the basketball opener at Tri-West, but returned for outings against Monrovia and Indianapolis Lutheran.
“I think we still have room to grow as a team,” Tharp said. “We have a lot of potential.”
Tharp made his varsity basketball debut as a sophomore, being inserted into the Cadets starting lineup roughly midway through the season. He scored no more than six points in any of Cascade’s first 15 games, but stepped up to average 9.4 points over the final eight outings.
The current Cadets squad is young, as Tharp, 6-foot-5-inch forward Gavin Hettler and four-year team manager Gracie Johnson are the only seniors.
Such youth provides Chris DuBois, who is in his 16th year as head coach, numerous opportunities to lean on the program’s seasoned veterans to help when needed.
Once the promising underclassman surrounded by older teammates, Tharp never hesitates.
“Mason is a great kid, No. 1. He likes to have fun, but he knows when not to have fun,” said DuBois. “If the team isn’t doing what it’s supposed to be doing, he’s not afraid to say something. Mason’s been playing varsity for three years and has seen a lot of players come through here.”