DARLINGTON – Darlington got caught up in Cuba City’s 1-3-1 halfcourt trap last Tuesday night, and there was little the Redbirds could do to fight their way out of it.
The Cubans scored 11 points off turnovers during an 18-0 run at the start the game, and they never let up racing away with a 57-38 SWAL victory over the Redbirds in boys’ basketball action at DHS on Dec. 4.
Darlington center Michael Ruf tied the score at 2-2 early on, but the Cubans (4-0 overall, 3-0) began to dial up the pressure from there, forcing 11 first-quarter turnovers and scoring nine points off those turnovers to build up a 16-2 lead by the close of the period.
Cuban guard Preston Droessler added a pair of baskets at the start of the second quarter– one on a putback and one off yet another turnover– to extend the lead to 20-2.
Ruf ended a nine-minute scoring drought with a bucket for the Redbirds (2-4, 1-2) with 5:18 to play in the opening half, however their fate was already sealed as the Cubans never let the ‘Birds get closer than 16 the rest of the night.
The Cubans forced five more turnovers and added four more points off those to build up a 30-10 halftime lead.
Darlington rebounded from a 10-point opening half with an 11-point third quarter rally and outscored the Cubans 17-16 in the fourth quarter, but they could do nothing to cut into the Cubans’ advantage as the guests kept it in cruise control in the second half.
Ruf scored eight of his team-high 12 points in the first half, while senior center Griffin Heinberg netted all 10 of his points in the second half for the ‘Birds.
Droessler accounted for 10 of his game-high 13 points in the first half to fuel the Cubans’ fast start, while senior Jason Derby added all nine of his points in the opening half as well.
Senior Greg Ganter chipped in with 10 points for Cuba City, which finished the night with 15 points off turnovers and another 19 second-chance points.
At Fennimore, on Friday, Dec. 7, a big finish could not make up for a slow start as the host Golden Eagles held off the Redbirds, 59-52, in a SWAL contest.
The Eagles (2-3, 2-1) held a 12-5 lead at the end of the first quarter, and then outscored the ‘Birds 33-26 over the next two quarters to build up a 45-31 advantage.
The Redbirds chopped the deficit in half in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles were able to hit enough free throws down the stretch to keep the lead intact.
Junior guard Cody Hardyman nailed three 3-pointers on the way to a team-high 17 points. Dylan Nyffenegger chipped in with nine points, while Michael Ruf added eight and Griffin Heinberg netted seven for the ‘Birds.
Junior guard Mitch Davis led the Eagles with 17 points and sophomore Zach Adkins poured in 10 for the hosts.
Darlington returns to action at home against Mineral Point on Thursday, Dec. 13, and the Redbirds have a SWAL game at Iowa-Grant on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Cuba City.… 16 14 11 16 - 57
Darlington… 2 8 11 17 - 38
Cuba City – Brandon Slaats 5, Alex Stewart 2, Einar Frimodt 7, Preston Droessler 13, Jason Derby 9, Michael Richard 5, Greg Ganter 10, Jeff Meckstroth 6. Totals – 24 10-17 57.
Darlington – Michael Ruf 12, Cody Hardyman 2, Cade Hardyman 2, Dylan Nyffenegger 3, Tanner Wiegel 2, Andrew Kelly 2, Cole McDonald 5, Griffin Heinberg 10. Totals – 15 10-15 38.
3-point goals – CC 1 (Derby 1), D 2 (Nyffenegger 1, McDonald 1). Total fouls – CC 19, D 13. Fouled out – None.
Darlington… 5 13 13 21 - 52
Fennimore… 12 17 16 14 - 59
Darlington – Michael Ruf 8, Cody Hardyman 17, Dylan Nyffenegger 9, Cade Hardyman 5, Cole McDonald 5, Griffin Heinberg 7, Riley Ray 1. Totals – 18 10-15 52.
Fennimore – Swan 4, Henkel 5, Davis 17, Napp 9, Hartberg 2, B. Adkins 8, Z. Adkins 10, Rosemeyer 4. Totals – 22 12-25 59.
3-point goals – D 6 (Co. Hardyman 3, Nyffenegger 1, McDonald 1, Ca. Hardyman 1), F 3 (Davis 1, Napp 1, Z. Adkins 1). Total fouls – D 22, F 16. Fouled out – Hardyman.