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Redbirds stuff Panthers at SWAL Jamboree
Darl GBB McGowan basket
DARLINGTON FORWARD Haily McGowan (#34) drives by an Iowa-Grant defender late in Saturdays SWAL Jamboree game held at UW-Plattevilles Bo Ryan Court.

    PLATTEVILLE – The Darlington girls’ and boys’ basketball teams were rockin’ and rollin’ at the SWAL Jamboree.
    The Lady Redbirds rode a 20-2 first quarter run to a 70-29 victory over Iowa-Grant on Saturday afternoon, and the Redbirds wrapped up the conference showcase by stuffing the Panther boys, 62-39, in Saturday’s finale held on the Bo Ryan Court at UW-Platteville’s Williams Fieldhouse on Jan. 14.
    Senior guard Amy Jorgenson matched her season-high with 25 points for the Lady ‘Birds (7-5 overall, 4-2 in SWAL), while senior guard Brandon Hardyman poured in a career-high 29 points to lead the Redbirds (7-5, 3-3) in the nightcap.
    Jorgenson teamed with juniors Claire Scott and Cassidy Chambers to get Darlington off to a fast start against the Lady Panthers (1-5, 2-9). Jorgenson fueled the Redbirds’ transition game early with 10 first quarter points, and Scott was all over the court with seven points, six rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal in the opening period.
    Chambers added a trey as Darlington raced out to a 20-2 lead in the first quarter.
    “We were off and running early and never looked back. This was another nice team win,” said Darlington head coach Michael Chambers. “(Claire) plays with such a high level of energy. Iowa-Grant had no answer for her.”
    The Redbirds added five points to their lead in the second quarter to build up a 35-12 halftime advantage, and the ‘Birds cruised through the second half by outscoring the Panthers 35-17 over the final two quarters to notch their second victory of the week.
    Jorgenson tallied five rebounds, four assists and four steals along with her game-high 25 points, and Chambers added five steals and four rebounds to go with her 15 points.
    Scott notched a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards and she registered four blocks and two steals. Senior Haily McGowan chipped in with seven points, five rebounds and a block in her first start of the season, and junior Tatum Evenstad added three assists for the ‘Birds.
    “Again, you see the same names as our leading scorers, but there are five girls on the court for us at all times. The names you don’t always read about are going to be the ones that other teams won’t plan for,” Chambers explained. “Haily did a nice job and Alexa Hardyman gave us some good minutes.”
    Chambers also noted Mallory Busch scored four points, Katelyn Wall had four rebounds and Abigail Merriam came up with two steals in Saturday’s game.
    Defensively, Darlington held the Panthers to less than 28 percent shooting from the field (12-for-43) while winning the turnover battle with a 22-8 advantage.
    Josi Olson led I-G with nine points, while Jacquelyn Olson followed with eight points and Alyssa Larsen added seven.
    The Darlington boys didn’t get off to as fast a start as the girls team did in their meeting with Iowa-Grant on Saturday evening; but, just like the girls, the Redbirds did lead the Panthers the entire way.
    Jumpers by Hardyman and Kent Miehe gave the Redbirds an early 4-0 lead, and that lead swelled to 16-10 by the end of the first quarter.
    The Panthers (1-5, 4-7) scored five of the first seven points of the second quarter to cut the gap to 18-15 with under six minutes to play in the opening half, but Hardyman caught fire from there, scoring 13 of the Redbirds’ points on a 17-2 spurt to end the half.
    The senior guard finished the first half with 25 points as the ‘Birds sprinted into the locker room at the intermission sporting a 35-17 lead.
    In the second half, I-G never got closer than 13 as the ‘Birds put it on cruise control the rest of the night.
    Hardyman was limited to just four points in the second half to finish the game with 29 points, however senior Zach McArthur picked up the offensive slack for the Redbirds scoring all 12 of his points in the second half, including eight clutch points in the third frame that helped keep the lead in double figures.
    Hardyman and McArthur also pulled down eight rebounds apiece for the ‘Birds, while Miehe added eight points and senior guard Mitchell Whalen contributed eight assists and three steals to go along with four points.
    T.J. Anderson led three Panthers in double figures with 12 points, while Cashton Laufenberg followed with 11 points and Colin Conner added 10 for I-G.
    Cuba City swept their games at the Jamboree as well with the Lady Cubans defeating Southwestern, 68-43, in the opener on Friday, and the Cubans routing Mineral Point, 70-32, on Saturday morning.
    Fennimore also swept with a win over Boscobel, 53-14, in girls’ action and a win over Riverdale, 61-39, in boys’ action.
    The Lady Pointers took down the Chieftains, 46-30, in the closest game of the showcase, while the Wildcats defeated the Bulldogs, 64-39, in other boys’ action.
    The average margin of victory during the eight games of the Jamboree was over 28 points with more than 30 points per game separating the teams in the girls’ games and 27 points separating the teams in the boys’ games.
    At Dodgeville, on Tuesday, Jan. 10, guards Amy Jorgenson and Cassidy Chambers gave the host Dodgers fits up and down the court while leading the Lady Redbirds to a 68-47 non-conference victory.
    Jorgenson was perfect shooting in the first half, going 5-for-5 on 2-pointers, 2-for-2 on 3-pointers and 2-for-2 from the free throw line to send the ‘Birds out to a 38-23 halftime lead; and Chambers took over in the third quarter, shooting 2-for-2 on 2s and 2-for-2 on 3s to extend the lead to 24 points.
    Jorgenson finished the night with 25 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals, and Chambers chipped in with 22 points, four rebounds, seven assists and a steal. 
    “When you get that kind of play from your starting guards, you’re going to be hard to beat. Even though these two girls scored the majority of our points, this was a really nice team win. We moved the ball very well and got a lot of girls involved,” said Coach Michael Chambers.
    Claire Scott added 10 points and seven boards for the ‘Birds.
    The Lady Redbirds host Boscobel in a SWAL game on Thursday, Jan. 19, and they entertain Platteville at home on Tuesday, Jan. 24, in non-conference action.
    The Darlington boys opensup the second half of the SWAL season by hosting league-leading Cuba City at DHS on Friday, Jan. 20.

Darlington…. 20  15  19  16 - 70
Iowa-Grant…   2  10    8    9 - 29
Leading Scorers: Amy Jorgenson 25, Cassidy Chambers 15, Claire Scott 14, Haily McGowan 7, Mallory Busch 4, Alexa Hardyman 3, Kaitlyn Wall 2.
Darlington…. 16  19  16  11 - 62
Iowa-Grant… 10    7  16    6 - 39
Leading Scorers: Brandon Hardyman 29, Zach McArthur 12, Kent Miehe 8, Cedric Flesher 4, Mitchell Whalen 4, Griffin Heinberg 2, Dylan Nyffenegger 2, John Sturtz 1.

Dodgeville… 15    8    9  15 - 47
Darlington… 20  18  18  12 - 68
Leading Scorers: Amy Jorgenson 25, Cassidy Chambers 22, Claire Scott 10, Haily McGowan 4, Alexa Hardyman 3, AnnaLisa Ruesga 2, Mallory Busch 1, Abigail Merriam 1.