CAMBRIDGE – A week after the Cambridge boys’ basketball team ousted Darlington from the WIAA playoffs with a strong second half effort, the Blue Jays girls’ basketball team did exactly the same to the Lady Redbirds.
The #3-seeded Blue Jays doubled up the #6-seeded Redbirds in the third quarter, 18-9, then took care of business at the foul line down the stretch to soar to a 49-34 victory in a WIAA Division 4 regional semifinal game at CHS on Friday, March 9.
Darlington (15-9 overall) hit a couple of big shots in the first half– one a 3-pointer by senior guard Amy Jorgenson to pull the guests within 12-10 of Cambridge at the end of the first quarter and another a 2-pointer by junior center Claire Scott at the buzzer that put the Redbirds up 21-20 at the half– but in the second half they had some trouble putting the ball in the basket.
Cambridge freshman Monica Muth took over the game in the third quarter, nailing three 3-pointers and scoring 11 of her game-high 22 points in that quarter to put her team ahead 38-30.
In the fourth quarter, Darlington stayed within striking distance until the very end when the Jays netted the game’s final eight points from the free throw stripe to pull away.
“I’m proud of the way our girls played. They never quit and gave it everything they had. We knew the Blue Jays would be quite a challenge, and we felt we were ready. Amy Jorgenson and Claire Scott got us going on the offensive end, while Tatum Evenstad and Alexa Hardyman squared off against their leading scorers on the defensive end,” said Darlington head coach Michael Chambers. “Defensively, our goal was to hold down their two leading scorers and not let them get going. We accomplished this in the first half but unfortunately we lost track of them in the third quarter. In the second half, we had a difficult time scoring and couldn’t keep pace.”
Scott scored a season-high 20 points and she pulled down a team-best 12 rebounds for a double-double to lead Darlington, while Jorgenson netted 12 points on the night to finish her basketball career at DHS among the top all-time scorers in school history with 981 points.
The duo combined for 32 of the team’s 34 points for the Redbirds, who really missed the presence of injured junior guard Cassidy Chambers on Friday night.
“We really struggled offensively. With Cassidy going down with her knee injury (ACL) so late in the year, we just didn’t have time to adjust. She was such and important part of our game plan– both offensively and defensively,” noted her coach and her dad.
Jazmyn Jarlsberg added 15 points for the Capitol South champion Blue Jays, who were defeated by Deerfield, 37-36, on a last-second shot in the regional final game on Saturday evening.
Wrapping up their prep careers at DHS on Friday were seniors Amy Jorgenson, Haily McGowan and AnnaLisa Ruesga.
“Our seniors will leave our program after two outstanding seasons. Their contributions go farther than what shows up in the paper. I wish them all the best as they move on to the next phase of their life,” Chambers exclaimed.
At Darlington, on Tuesday, March 6, the Lady Redbirds reeled off the game’s first 20 points and never looked back as they rolled over #11-seeded Waterloo, 60-8, in a D-4 regional quarterfinal contest.
“Defensively we were outstanding. We challenged every pass and every shot. This caused Waterloo to turn the ball over 32 times and struggle shooting (just 11 percent). The nicest part was that it didn’t matter who we had in the game because everyone played very hard. We got contributions from everyone on the team, which was a nice way to finish our last home game of the year,” said Coach Michael Chambers.
Amy Jorgenson scored seven of her game-high 19 points in the first quarter to lead the ‘Birds out to a 13-0 lead, and she added five more points in the second quarter as the hosts jumped out to a 26-1 halftime advantage over the Pirates (2-21).
The Redbirds held a 36-6 lead after three quarters of play, and outscored the Pirates 19-2 in the fourth quarter to roll to their fifth straight victory.
Claire Scott chipped in with 13 points and five rebounds for Darlington, and AnnaLisa Ruesga followed with eight points for the ‘Birds.
Mallory Busch added six points and eight rebounds for the hosts, while Carly Reilly tallied six points and Tatum Evenstad registered a team-high five steals and had two assists.
Amber Kuhl led Waterloo with three points.
WIAA D4 REGIONAL SEMIFINAL
Darlington…. 10 11 9 4 - 34
Cambridge… 12 8 18 11 - 49
Leading Scorers: Claire Scott 20, Amy Jorgenson 12, Alexa Hardyman 2.
WIAA D4 REGIONAL QUARTERFINAL
Waterloo…... 0 1 5 2 - 8
Darlington… 13 13 15 19 - 60
Leading Scorers: Amy Jorgenson 19, Claire Scott 13, AnnaLisa Ruesga 8, Mallory Busch 6, Carly Reilly 6, Kaitlyn Wall 2, Haily McGowan 2, Shannon McDaniel 2, Tatum Evenstad 1, Alexa Hardyman 1.