DARLINGTON – Senior guard Cassidy Chambers tallied eight of her game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Darlington Redbirds over Argyle, 49-36, in their non-conference prep girls’ basketball season opener at DHS on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
With the win, the Lady Redbirds gave first-year head coach Riley Fitzsimons a successful start in his varsity debut.
“It feels great to get the monkey off our backs getting the first win. Now, we should be able to settle in and get better at running the new stuff we put in,” said Fitzsimons.
Chambers, who ended last season with a torn ACL in the second-to-last game of the regular season, returned to the court for the first time since that injury to lead the Lady Redbirds with 21 points, five steals and three assists.
Darlington (1-0 overall) used an 8-3 scoring run in the second quarter to grab a 22-19 lead at the intermission, and then came back and outscored the Orioles (0-1) in the third quarter, 15-7, to build up a 37-26 advantage heading into the final frame.
The ‘Birds started off a bit shaky in the fourth quarter, turning the ball over on their first six possessions of the stanza and missing the front end of two bonus free throw situations to allow Argyle to creep back within six at 39-30.
However, Chambers stepped up big at the foul line down the stretch, sinking six of her eight free throw attempts over the final three minutes of play to help the Redbirds seal the victory.
“Every coach knows that free throws can win or lose games. We spend a lot of time on them during practice, so it was my hope that we would perform well at the foul line. It also helps to keep the ball in our best free throw shooter’s hands in Cassidy Chambers,” Fitzsimons explained.
I was also pleased that we were able to handle the pressure down the stretch. I always preach that basketball is a game of momentum and how you handle things when the other team has the momentum will determine the outcome of the game. We were able to withstand their push at the end of the game.”
Senior Claire Scott scored six of her 12 points in the third quarter and she led the ‘Birds with six rebounds to aid the Redbirds’ effort.
Senior Cassidy Cox chipped in with seven points, while senior Mallory Busch contributed five points and five rebounds.
Jessica Treuthardt led the Orioles with seven points and Kayla Ostby added six. Rachel Tollakson, Jenna Langmeier and Katie Zwicker all netted five points for the guests.
Darlington returns to action with a SWAL contest at Cuba City on Friday, Nov. 30; and the Redbirds will face Pecatonica in a non-conference game in Blanchardville on Tuesday, Dec. 4. The junior varsity game kicks off each night at 6 p.m. with the varsity game to follow at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Argyle……... 16 3 7 10 - 36
Darlington… 14 8 15 12 - 49
Scoring Leaders: Cassidy Chambers 21, Claire Scott 12, Cassidy Cox 7, Mallory Busch 5, Tatum Evenstad 2, Kaitlyn Wall 2.