STEVENS POINT – Darlington’s eighth grade boys’ basketball team steamrolled through the competition to capture the Division 4/5 state championship title at the 2013 Wisconsin State Invitational Championship Tournament held in Stevens Point on March 23-24.
The Darlington team posted a perfect 6-0 record during the tournament and won their games by an average of 26 points per game en route to the title.
Darlington had their closest game of the tournament during pool play when they defeated Random Lake by a score of 44-35. The Redbirds routed Algoma, 68-33, and Shiocton, 61-27, in their other contests to win the White/Green Pool and advance to the championship round.
In the championship round of 16, Darlington rolled over Eleva-Strum, 74-26, and Laconia, 57-38, to advance to the championship game where they met Lafayette County rival Pecatonica in the final.
The Redbirds took down the Vikings by a score of 44-31 to earn the title.
Darlington was coached this season by Ron Schwartz, Tom Uppena and Willie Gollackson. Members of the team include Ryan Glendenning, Chad Gollackson, Hayden Hardyman, Hunter Johnson, Trevor Johnson, Brayden McDonald, Will Schwartz, Josh Soper and Jesse Sturtz.
It is the second state title for these boys, who also won the state tournament in sixth grade. This team also placed second in seventh grade and third in fifth grade at the state tournament.
Shullsburg also moved on to the championship round of this year’s tournament after going 1-2 in the Purple/Orange Pool and winning a play-in game to start off 2-2 at the tournament.
The Miners defeated Hilbert, 64-45, and lost close games to Barneveld, 50-48, and Howards Grove, 43-41, during pool play; and then defeated Fall Creek, 38-34, in a play-in game at make the quarterfinals.
A 47-29 loss to Pecatonica dropped Shullsburg to the consolation round, and a 46-32 win over Shiocton sent the Miners into the fifth-place game, which turned out to be a rematch with Barneveld.
The Golden Eagles got the best of the Miners once again in their rematch with a 51-44 decision.