DARLINGTON – Darlington’s boys’ basketball season got off to a bit of a slow start thanks to the extended football season, but when the season finally tipped off the Redbirds started off fast and finished strong on their way to a 58-50 non-conference victory over Barneveld at DHS on Monday, Nov. 30.
“I’m very proud of the way they came out. We’ve had only four practice with the full team, so we’re not in good basketball shape yet, especially the legs, and it showed,” said Darlington head coach Michael Hopkins. “We came out and took control early in the ball game and hung on late.”
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Barneveld’s junior point guard Matthew Myers put the Golden Eagles (1-1 overall) ahead 10-4, however the Redbirds (1-0) fired back with three of their six first-half 3-pointers to spark a 14-0 run which shot them into the lead.
The ‘Birds extended the lead to 30-16 on back-to-back treys by junior guards Ryan Glendenning and Will Schwartz, but the Eagles closed the half on a 13-4 scoring run of their own to cut the gap to 34-29 by the intermission.
“We came out shooting well for three-quarters of the first half, and then you could tell our outside shots were coming up short,” admitted Hopkins.
The Redbirds continued to maintain the lead for much of the second half, but the Eagles kept clawing at their lead until a basket by junior Lucas Evans gave them a 49-48 lead with 4:37 to play.
Schwartz answered back with a go-ahead basket just seconds later, and he combined with Glendenning to go 7-for-8 from the free throw line in the final 1:28 to seal the victory.
“Great teams find a way to win when they’re not clicking on all cylinders. For the last two minutes of the game, I thought we were in control,” Hopkins said.
Schwartz and Glendenning each sank three 3s and netted 16 points apiece to lead the Redbirds on the night.
Junior center Chad Golackson chipped in with 10 points and junior forward Josh Soper chipped in with eight points for the hosts.
Myers scored 15 to lead the Eagles. Freshman Malcolm Reed followed with 14, and senior Bryce Arneson tallied eight for Barneveld.
Darlington opens SWAL play at Cuba City on Thursday, Dec. 3.
Barneveld…. 29 21 – 50
Darlington… 34 24 – 58
Barneveld– Myers 15, Evans 6, Reed 14, Zouski 6, Shatrawka 1, Arneson 8. Totals – 18 11-17 50.
Darlington – Will Schwartz 16, Ryan Glendenning 16, Trevor Johnson 3. Tony Ruesga 5, Josh Soper 8, Chad Golackson 10. Totals – 20 11-18 58.
3-point goals– B 3 (Myers 2, Reed), D 7 (Schwartz 3, Glendenning 3, Golackson). Total fouls– B 15, D 12.