DARLINGTON – Three quick scoring bursts– coupled with a good defensive effort– allowed the Darlington Redbirds to run down their rivals from Mineral Point, 60-50, in a SWAL boys’ basketball game at DHS on Friday, Feb. 5.
“It’s a friendly rivalry, but we’re all competitors. It’s nice to beat your rivals,” said Darlington head coach Michael Hopkins.
The Redbirds (13-4 overall, 8-2 SWAL) used an early 9-0 scoring run to grab the lead, but the Pointers (6-10, 4-6) shot back with a 9-2 run of their own to briefly grab a 12-11 advantage on a Dylan MacGilvra 3-pointer with 7:45 to play in the opening half.
Junior forward Josh Soper gave the lead right back to the ‘Birds with a basket that started off a 14-2 outburst which put them ahead for good. Soper added two more baskets and a free throw during the run, and junior guard Will Schwartz sank a 3-point and a 2-point basket to put the hosts up 25-14.
The Pointers cut the cap to 25-18 by the intermission, and then got as close as 27-22 early in the second half when the Redbirds used another quick 15-2 scoring burst to build up a 42-24 advantage. Five different players scored on the run with junior guard Trevor Johnson and Schwartz each knocking down a trey to help extend the lead to 18 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game.
“We’re a fast-breaking team, so we have to play good defense and rebound. We were good on defense in the first half. We did a much better job of rebounding in the second half,” commented Hopkins. “We’re really strong in the open court, but our half-court execution on offense needs to get a little better.”
Darlington slowed things down the rest of the way, which allowed the Pointers to shoot their way back within single digits. However, the ‘Birds hit just enough free throws (3-of-8 in final two minutes) on the offensive and made the Pointers work hard enough for a good look on the defensive end to hang on for the victory.
“Give credit to Mineral Point. They have some good 3-point shooters. They weren’t hitting many of those until late when they hit a couple in a row,” Hopkins said. “If you’re not scoring on your end, and the other team starts hitting 3-pointers, they’re going to close the gap pretty quick.”
Schwartz scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the first half to lead the Redbirds. Johnson chipped in with nine of his 13 points in the second half, while Soper finished with 11 points on the night.
Junior guard Ryan Glendenning and junior center Chad Golackson scored seven points apiece– all in the second half– for the ‘Birds.
MacGilvra sank four of the Pointers’ five 3s on his way to a team-high 18 points. Center Jack Warrick netted 12 points and guard Chase Wendhausen tallied 11 for the Pointers.
Darlington has SWAL games at home against Southwestern on Thursday, Jan.11, and at Boscobel on Tuesday, Feb. 16. The Redbirds’ non-conference home game against New Glarus on Feb. 2 was postponed due to the weather. It will be made up at DHS on Monday, Feb. 22.
“We’re still in the conference race. We just have to keep winning ball games. We haven’t given up hope. We have to continue to take care of our own business and let things happen after that,” explained Hopkins.
The Darlington Hoops Club hosted their annual “Hoops for Hopes” charity fundraiser on Friday night. The two “Hoops for Hopes” events hosted at DHS– one earlier this year at a Darlington girls’ game and the second on Friday– raised a total of $4,000 for the Lafayette County Relay for Life organization.
Mineral Point… 18 32 – 50
Darlington……. 25 35 – 60
Mineral Point – Wendhausen 11, James 3, Steffes 4, Warrick 12, Toay 2, MacGilvra 18. Totals – 17 11-13 50.
Darlington – Will Schwartz 19, Brayden McDonald 1, Ryan Glendenning 7, Trevor Johnson 13, Tony Ruesga 2, Josh Soper 11, Chad Golackson 7. Totals – 25 7-19 60.
3-point goals– MP 5 (James 1, MacGilvra 4), D 3 (Schwartz 2, Johnson 1). Total fouls– MP 18, D 16. Fouled out– MP: Steffes, Toay.