DARLINGTON – The first time Darlington played Mineral Point this season they came out flat and played an uninspired game on the way to a 13-point loss to the rival Pointers. They weren’t about to let that happen again.
Senior guard Cedric Flesher poured in eight of his career-high 16 points in the first quarter to get the Redbirds off to a fast start, and senior forward Kent Miehe poured in eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter to help the Redbirds hold off the Pointers, 64-57, in the battle for third-place in the SWAL boys’ basketball standings at DHS on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
Senior guard Brandon Hardyman added 10 of his 15 points in the second half and senior guard Mitchell Whalen chipped in with 12 points as the Redbirds put four players into double figures on the night.
Inspired by the honoring of Darlington’s state championship cross country team prior to the tip-off, the Redbirds (11-5 overall, 7-3 in SWAL) raced out to an early 16-3 lead and were poised to run away from the Pointers (11-5, 5-4).
But, the guests had other plans. Trailing 21-8 after one quarter of play, the Pointers looked to center Trent Steffes to bring them back and he did by scoring 10 of his team’s 20 points in the second quarter to slice the Redbirds’ lead to 30-28 at halftime.
Then, Point tied the game 30 all on a putback by Ian Ewers, however back-to-back baskets by Flesher and Hardyman thrust the ‘Birds back into the lead and they continued to stay one step ahead of the Pointers the rest of the night.
The guests were still within striking distance at 50-46 following Steffes’ lone basket of the second half early in the fourth quarter, but Jake Martin and Miehe sank back-to-back 3-pointers for the ‘Birds to push the lead to 10 at 56-46 midway through the final frame and MP never got it closer than six down the stretch.
Steffes and Dakota Poad led the way with 14 points apiece for the Pointers, who lost for the first time this season when scoring more than 47 points. Sy Staver added 11 points and Ewers finished with eight for the guests.
At Livingston, on Friday, Feb. 3, the Redbirds used a combination of strong defense and balanced scoring to run their winning streak to six games as they rolled over host Iowa-Grant, 58-31, in SWAL action.
Darlington outscored the Panthers (6-11, 3-8) in each quarter, but it was a 16-8 run to start the game that set the tone and a 16-3 start to the second half that put the game out of reach.
Brandon Hardyman led all scorers with 17 points, followed by Cedric Flesher with 13 and Mitchell Whalen with 11 for the ‘Birds.
Kent Miehe nearly gave Darlington a fourth scorer in double figures for the second straight game, but he fell a point shy after finishing with nine points for the guests. Garrett Nagel led I-G with 15 points.
Darlington hosts Southwestern in SWAL competition on Thursday, Feb. 9, and New Glarus in a non-conference contest on Monday, Feb. 13.
Mineral Point… 8 20 16 13 - 57
Darlington……. 21 9 18 16 - 64
Leading Scorers: Cedric Flesher 16, Brandon Hardyman 15, Kent Miehe 13, Mitchell Whalen 12, Jake Martin 5, Griffin Heinberg 2, Zach McArthur 1.
Darlington…. 16 11 16 15 - 58
Iowa-Grant… 8 7 3 13 - 31
Leading Scorers: Brandon Hardyman 17, Cedric Flesher 13, Mitchell Whalen 11, Kent Miehe 9, Griffin Heinberg 2, Jake Martin 2, Mitchell Langkamp 2, Storm Wiegel 1, Blake Nyffenegger 1.