DARLINGTON – Darlington had trouble closing out Boscobel in regulation, but the Redbirds had no problem scoring on the Bulldogs in overtime as they dropped in 20 points during the extra session to run away with a thrilling 71-60 victory at BHS on Friday, Feb. 17.
The Redbirds (13-8 overall, 8-5 in SWAL) brought a 38-32 lead into the fourth quarter and quickly built the lead up to double digits before the host Bulldogs (8-13, 6-7) started to make their comeback.
With the ‘Birds misfiring at the foul line, Boscobel fought their way back into the game and eventually tied the score at 51 all on three free throws by Casey Atkinson in the final seven seconds of regulation.
Undaunted, Darlington grabbed the lead right back on a pair of free throws by senior Kent Miehe to start the overtime period. The Redbirds kept pouring it on from there as they outscored the ‘Dawgs 18-9 the rest of OT to run away with their sixth straight win over Boscobel.
Senior Cedric Flescher led four Redbirds in double figures with 15 points. Miehe followed with 14, Mitchell Whalen with 12 and Brandon Hardyman with 10, while Grant Heinberg and Zach McArthur chipped in with nine apiece for the ‘Birds.
Branden Faulkner poured in a game-high 18 points for the Bulldogs. Dillon Kjos added 11 and Logan Wacker had 10 for the hosts.
At Darlington, on Saturday, Feb. 18, #2-ranked Cuba City scored the game’s first eight points and never looked back as the Cubans grabbed sole possession of the SWAL boys’ basketball title for 2011-12 by rolling over the Redbirds, 76-30, in a make-up game from Jan. 20.
While the Redbirds were struggling to put away Boscobel in overtime on Friday night, the Cubans (20-0, 12-0) were fighting to stay unbeaten, needing a second OT period to hold off Southwestern, 61-58, and lock up a share of their sixth straight SWAL championship.
The Cubans showed no ill effects from Friday night’s emotionally draining victory over the Wildcats when they returned to the court on Saturday afternoon as they got off to a very fast start and never slowed down.
Cuba built up a 16-4 lead by the end of the first quarter and outscored the ‘Birds 46-18 over the next two quarters to open up a ridiculous 40-point advantage over the team they shared the conference title with the previous two seasons.
Nate Murray led a balanced Cuban attack with 12 points, followed by Jason Derby, Zach Adams and Trent Denlinger with 10 apiece.
Cedric Flescher paced the Redbirds with 11 points.
Darlington closes the regular season by hosting Riverdale (1-19, 0-13) in a SWAL game on Thursday, Feb. 23.
The Redbirds were seeded third in their sectional bracket for the upcoming WIAA Division 4 tournament and received a bye in the opening round of the playoffs.
The ‘Birds will host the winner of the quarterfinal game between sixth-seed Mineral Point (13-8) and Wisconsin Heights (1-18) in a regional semifinal contest on Friday, March 2, starting at 7 p.m.
Darlington… 9 10 19 13 20 - 71
Boscobel..… 9 9 14 19 9 - 60
Leading Scorers: Cedric Flesher 15, Kent Miehe 14, Mitchell Whalen 12, Brandon Hardyman 10, Zach McArthur 9, Griffin Heinberg 9, Storm Wiegel 2.
Cuba City…. 16 20 26 14 - 76
Darlington… 4 7 11 8 - 30
Leading Scorers: Cedric Flesher 11, Mitchell Whalen 4, Kent Miehe 4, Zach McArthur 3, Griffin Heinberg 2, Blake Nyffenegger 2, Andrew Kelly 2, Erik Zander 1, Storm Wiegel 1.