DARLINGTON — The Darlington Redbirds boys’ basketball team kicked off the 2017-18 season by taking down the top two Division 5 teams from last season with back-to-back victories over defending D5 champion Barneveld and defending D5 runner-up Shullsburg at home last week.
The Redbirds (2-0 overall) outscored Barneveld 13-5 over the final four minutes and 37 seconds to rally from a three-point deficit to defeat the Golden Eagles in their season opener at DHS on Tuesday, Nov. 28.
Junior Stryker Fitzsimons and freshman Carter Lancaster, who led Darlington with 14 points apiece, combined to score 20 of the Redbirds’ 27 points in the second half to secure the victory. Fitzsimons tallied 11 of those points, while Lancaster added nine for the hosts.
Senior Tanner Evenstad scored all nine of his points in the first half and junior Matthew Douglas added all six of his points on a pair of first-half three-pointers to lead the ‘Birds out to a 30-28 halftime lead.
Kauy Fargo poured in a game-high 15 points to lead Barneveld. Jonas Ignatius added 11 points and Dayne Evans scored 10 for the Eagles (0-3).
“It’s always nice to open up with a win, especially against a very good Barneveld team. I’m happy to get a win to start things off on the right foot,” said Darlington head coach Tom Uppena
At Darlington, on Thursday, Nov. 30, the Redbirds used an 11-2 scoring run to open up a double-digit halftime lead, and then went on to outscore the visiting Miners, 30-18, in the second half to roll to a 53-30 non-conference victory.
“It was not an offensive fan’s dream by any means. There are some things we need to figure out offensively to put p some points,” Uppena commented. “Defensively, I was pretty happy. Our kids got after it and played incredibly hard. I’m happy with their effort.”
Baskets by Carter Lancaster and Tanner Evenstad gave the ‘Birds an early 4-0 lead and they would never trail the rest of the night.
Shullsburg (0-3) got it back to within two at 12-10 on a 3-pointer by junior Issac Hoppman with 7:54 remaining in the first half, but Redbirds scored 11 of the final 13 points of the period to take a 23-12 lead into the locker room at the intermission.
“We fight hard, but we got some corrections we need to make. We’ve been focusing on rebounding and limiting turnovers. Unfortunately, we did not do enough of either of those tonight to win the game,” replied Shullsburg head coach Luke Tyson.
Darlington extended the lead to 15 early in the second half. Back-to-back treys by Nolan Strang and Alex Wand got the Miners back within 29-21, but that was as close as they would get as the ‘Birds closed the game on a 24-9 run, which included a streak of 14 unanswered points at one point that put the game away.
“We played them full-court man pretty much the whole game. I figurd we could wear them down with our depth and their lack of depth. I think it started to work towards the end,” admitted Uppena.
Lancaster finished with a game-high 15 points for the Redbirds. Junior Tucker Lange came off the bench for 10 points, while senior Tony Ruesga added eight points and Evenstad and Stryker Fitzsimons netted seven points apiece for the hosts.
Junior Jacob Berendes led the Miners with nine points– all in the first half, while Wand tallied eight points– all in the second half. Oren Charles added five points for the bench for the Miners.
Shullsburg opened the week suffering a 55-23 loss at Platteville on Tuesday, Nov. 28. The Hillmen opened up a 45-10 lead in the first half.
Juniors Griffin Wiegel and Oscar Ortiz scored five points apiece to lead the Miners.
“Scoring is a troubling spot for us right now, especially with consistency on offense. Hopefully, when we get away from some of these tough non-conference team we can pick things up offensively,” said Tyson.
Darlington hosts Mineral Point in a key early season SWAL showdown at DHS on Friday, Dec. 8. The Lafayette County Relay For Life organization will be holding a Hoops For Hope fundraiser throughout the evening on Friday night.
Shullsburg hosts River Ridge in Six Rivers West action on Friday, Dec. 8, and has another league game at Potosi on Tuesday, Dec. 12.
Shullsburg…… 12 18 – 30
Darlington……. 23 30 – 53
Shullsburg – Jacob Berendes 9, Alex Wand 8, Nolan Strang 3, Griffin Wiegel 2, Oren Charles 5, Isaac Hoppman 3. Totals – 12 1-2 30.
Darlington– Kameron Blosch 4, Tanner Evenstad 7, Tucker Lange 10, Carter Lancaster 15, Bryce Stone 2, Stryker Fitzsimons 7, Tony Ruesga 8. Totals – 23 5-10 53.
3-point goals– S 5 (Berendes 1, Wand 1, Strang 1, Charles 1, Hoppman 1), D 2 (Evenstad 1, Fitzsimons 1). Total fouls– S 15, D 12. Fouled out– none.
Barneveld…….. 28 24 – 52
Darlington……. 30 27 – 57
Barneveld – Reed 5, Fargo 15, Yacha 2, Gordon 5, Slaney 4, Ignatius 11, Evans 10. Totals – 20 7-11 52.
Darlington– Kameron Blosch 5, Tanner Evenstad 9, Trae Schilling 1, Tucker Lange 4, Carter Lancaster 14, Stryker Fitzsimons 14, Tony Ruesga 4, Matthew Douglas 6. Totals – 20 10-15 57.
3-point goals– B 5 (Gordon 1, Ignatius 2, Evans 2), D 7 (Blosch 1, Evenstad 1, Lancaster 2, Fitzsimons 1, Douglas 2). Total fouls– B 17, D 16. Fouled out– B: Slaney.
Shullsburg……… 10 13 – 23
Platteville……….. 45 10 – 55
Shullsburg – Jacob Berendes 3, Alex Wand 3, Griffin Wiegel 5, Logan Glasgow 2, Kyle Klotz 2, Oscar Ortiz 5, Isaac Hoppman 3. Totals – 7 6-12 23.
Platteville– Eggers 3, Blevins 15, Rohrbach 10, Schambow 2, Oswald 7, Wernimont 2, Weigel 4, Riley 4, Bartels 2, Heer 4, King 2. Totals – 24 4-6 55.
3-point goals– S 3 (Berendes 1, Ortiz 1, Hoppman 1), P 3 (Blevins 15, Rohrbach 1, Oswald 1). Total fouls– S 10, P 16. Fouled out– none.