DARLINGTON – The Darlington girls’ basketball team will head into the tournament riding a two-game winning streak after taking care of Southwestern, 53-37, in their SWAL finale at DHS on Thursday, Feb. 21.
The Redbirds (16-6 overall, 10-4 in SWAL) sent their highly-decorated senior class off with a victory on Senior Night, and sent a message to the visiting Wildcats (5-16, 5-9), who they could face again when they start the playoffs on Friday.
Senior Cassidy Chambers got the Redbirds rolling last Thursday evening by pumping in 11 of her 13 points in the first quarter to lift the hosts out to an early 14-9 lead.
The Wildcats got as close as 14-11 on a basket by senior Morgan Kuhl early in the second quarter and they kept the ‘Birds from scoring for a span of more than five minutes during the quarter to keep it close.
However, Darlington snapped their extended scoring drought by closing the first half with 10 unanswered points to open up a 24-11 advantage at the intermission.
The ‘Birds extended the lead to 15 by the end of the third, and then used a 10-2 spurt at the start of the fourth quarter to build a 48-25 cushion.
Senior center Claire Scott tallied 11 of her game-high 17 points in the second half, while sophomore guard Mariah Wiegel scored all five of her season-high points in the third quarter.
Kuhl finished with 14 points to pace the ‘Cats, and Abby Kunkel chipped in with 13 points.
Darlington received the #2-seed in their regional bracket and along with it an opening round bye when the WIAA Division 4 state tournament starts on Tuesday.
The Lady Redbirds will host the winner of the regional quarterfinal game between #7 Belleville (7-15) and #10 Southwestern in a semifinal contest on Friday, March 1, starting at 7 p.m.
Southwestern… 9 2 12 14 – 37
Darlington…….. 14 10 14 15 – 53
Southwestern – Vaassen 4, Kuhl 14, Kunkel 13, Droeszler 4, team 2.
Darlington – Mallory Busch 1, Cassidy Chambers 13, Abigail Merriam 4, Tatum Evenstad 4, Claire Scott 17, Alexa Hardyman 4, Mariah Wiegel 5, team 5.