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Darlington deals #9 Mineral Point first SWAL loss
DARLINGTON GUARD Chelsie Golackson (#55) takes the ball up the court amid the heavy full-court defensive pressure applied by Riverdale in Tuesdays SWAL game.

    DARLINGTON – Darlington brought SWAL-leading Mineral Point back to the pack atop the conference standings by dealing the visiting Lady Pointers their first league loss of the season with a hard-fought 60-50 victory at DHS on Thursday, Feb. 2.
    The Redbirds ended Mineral Point’s 30-game SWAL winning streak and halted a personal seven-game slide to the #9-ranked Pointers with their 10-point triumph on Thursday night.
    The win came just two days after Riverdale ended Darlington’s five-game winning streak with a come-from-behind 77-71 SWAL win at DHS on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
    “Both the Riverdale and Mineral Point games were physical and competitive. (Tuesday’s) loss sparked determination in our team. The team also did not want to repeat the game we played at Mineral Point earlier in the season,” commented Darlington head coach Kelly Rose. “I am proud of the team’s performance Thursday night. I think it will be a game they will remember for quite some time.”
    The Redbirds (12-6 overall, 8-3 SWAL) broke off on an 18-9 scoring run after Pointer senior and UW-Milwaukee recruit Sydney Staver went to the bench with her third foul at the 7:56 mark of the first half and built up a 27-15 halftime advantage.
    The ‘Birds maintained a double-digit lead through much of the second half, however Staver came back with a vengeance and kept the Pointers (14-4, 10-1) close by scoring 18 of her game-high 21 in that half before fouling out with two minutes remaining in the game.
    MP briefly got as close as six, but the Redbirds kept their cool down the stretch and held on for their first victory over the Pointers since 2013.
    “I think the key to the Mineral Point game was our perseverance. The girls remained focus and composed throughout the game, even when momentum was not in their favor,” Rose said.
    Sophomore guard Kathleen Mathias registered a double-double with a team-high 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Birds’ balanced attack.
    Seniors Callie Norton and Sadie Fitzsimons netted nine points apiece, while sophomore Kaylee Meyers added eight points for Darlington.
    Cassie Bossert scored nine points for the Pointers, who shot just 14-for-54 from the field and 8-for-23 from the free throw line on the night
    At Darlington, on Tuesday night, the Riverdale Chieftains (15-3, 8-3, ranked #10 in Division 5) rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final seven minutes of play to defeat the host Redbirds, 77-71, in a high-scoring SWAL contest.
    Down 11-2 early in the game, the Redbirds fought their way back into it using a 26-6 scoring run to rally for a 28-17 lead. The ‘Birds maintained a 42-33 advantage at the halftime break, and were ahead 65-55 with just under seven minutes remaining when Riverdale began its comeback.
    Senior guard McKenzie Couey scored nine straight points to make it a one point game and senior Macey Klebesadel gave the guests the lead when she sank two free throws with 4:52 to go to give the Chieftains their first lead since midway through first half.
    Mathias and Meyers each hit two free throws to give the ‘Birds their final lead at 69-68 with 2:30 to play, but senior Autumn Noble answered back with a pair of free throws 21 second later to put the Chieftains back in the lead to stay.
    Riverdale put the game away at the foul line by sinking 7-of-10 attempts in the final 59 seconds. The Chieftains went 14-for-20 from the stripe in the second half and finished the night going 19-for-31 on their foul shots.
    Couey hit five of her seven 3-pointers in the second half and scored 18 of her game-high 24 points in that half as well to rally Riverdale. Nobel scored 12 of her 20 points in the first half, while sophomore Tatum Johnson netted 10 of her 17 points in the second half. M. Klebesadel added 11 points for the Chieftains.
    Meyers finished with 18 points and Mathias tallied 17 for the Redbirds, who shot 23-for-28 from the line on the night with Meyers going 13-for-14 at the foul line to lead the way.
    With three games remaining in the SWAL season, Mineral Point sits in first-place at 10-1. Cuba City remains alone in second-place at 9-2, while Riverdale and Darlington sit tied for third at 8-3. The Pointers have games remaining with the Chieftains and Cubans, while the Redbirds meet the Chieftains in Muscoda on Friday, Feb. 10.
     Darlington also hosts Lancaster (9-7) in a non-conference game on Monday, Feb. 13.
Mineral Point……… 15    35 – 50
Darlington…………. 27    33 – 60
    Mineral Point – Staver 21, Aschliman 5, James 4, Johnson 2, Kruser 6, Reichling 3, Bossert 9. Totals – 0  0-0  50.
    Darlington – Gabrielle Steiner 2, Callie Norton 9, Sadie Fitzsimons 9, Bethany McDonald 6, Kathleen Mathias 18, Taryn Rankin 2, Kennedy Rankin 3, Kaylee Meyers 7, Chelsie Golackson 4. Totals – 0  0-0  60.
    3-point goals– MP 3 (Staver 2, Bossert 1), D 2 (Fitzsimons 1, K. Rankin 1). Total fouls– MP 19, D 20. Fouled out– MP: Staver.
Riverdale…………… 33    44 – 77
Darlington………….. 42    29 – 71
    Riverdale – C. Klebesadel 3, Mau 2, Couey 24, M. Klebesadel 11, Noble 20, Johnson 17. Totals – 25  19-30  77.
    Darlington – Callie Norton 5, Sadie Fitzsimons 6, Bethany McDonald 4, Kathleen Mathias 17, Taryn Rankin 6, Meghan Douglas 3, Kennedy Rankin 8, Kaylee Meyers 18, Chelsie Golackson 4. Totals – 23  23-28 71.
    3-point goals– R 8 (Couey 7, M. Klebesadel 1), D 2 (Douglas 1, Meyers 1). Total fouls– R 21, D 22. Fouled out– R: Mau; D: Mathias. Technical foul– D: Mathias.