DARLINGTON — When Darlington and Mineral Point last met in sectionals last season, the Redbirds got the best of the SWAL co-champion Pointers and earned the first-ever sectional victory in program history.
Their rivalry was renewed in both teams’ SWAL opener at Darlington on Friday, Dec. 1, and the Lady Redbirds got the best of the Pointers once again by rallying from a four-point halftime deficit to post a 64-62 exciting victory over their foes from the north.
“It was quite a game and exactly the competition we were expecting from them,” declared Darlington head coach Kelly Rose. “Having ended their season last year and back and forth with them in our rivalry, we didn’t expect anything less.”
Mineral Point (1-2 overall, 0-1 SWAL) used an aggressive dribble-drive attack to put Darlington (3-1, 1-0) into early foul trouble and grab a lead they would keep the entire first half. The Pointers led 21-11 with just over four minutes remaining in the first half, but the ‘Birds sliced the deficit down to 26-22 by the intermission.
“We had some discussions at halftime to correct a few errors we were making. We got our starters back in after having a little bit of foul trouble and things got swung our way as we got going there,” admitted Rose.
The Redbirds took their first lead at 29-28 on a steal and layup by junior guard Kaylee Meyers with 15:31 remaining, and then used a 12-2 scoring run during a five-minute spurt to turn a three-point deficit into a 47-36 lead with nine minutes to play.
Mineral Point answered back with an 11-2 run to cut the Redbirds’ lead to 50-47 with 5:39 to go, and then got as close as one with 1:57 remaining. Darlington put the game away at the foul line, connecting on 4-of-6 free throws in the final 73 seconds to seal their third consecutive victory over the Pointers.
Meyers, junior guard Kathleen Mathias and senior forward Kennedy Rankin combined for 28 of the Redbirds’ 42 points in the second half to fuel the come-from-behind effort. Mathias finished with a game-high 16 points, while Meyers chipped in with 15 points and Rankin netted 11 points.
Junior Bethany McDonald scored eight points, senior Meghan Douglas added seven and junior Casey Glendenning had six for the ‘Birds.
Junior McKenna Reichling led the Pointers with 14 points. Junior Dana Schmitz scored 11 and junior Mara Aschliman added 10 for the guests.
Darlington has a SWAL game at Riverdale on Thursday, Dec. 7, and the Redbirds have a non-conference game at Richland Center on Tuesday, Dec. 12.
Mineral Point……. 26 36 – 62
Darlington……...... 22 42 – 64
Mineral Point– Lindsey 4, Aschliman 10, M. Johnson 9, N. Johnson 6, Murphy 4, Reichling 14, Schmitz 11, Kinch 4. Totals – 19 21-33 62.
Darlington – Bethany McDonald 8, Meghan Douglas 7, Casey Glendenning 6, Kathleen Mathias 16, Chelsie Golackson 1, Kennedy Rankin 11, Kaylee Meyers 15. Totals – 22 16-25 64.
3-point goals– MP 3 ( Aschliman 2, Reichling 1), D 4 (Douglas 1, Mathias 1, Rankin 1, Meyers 1). Total fouls– MP 17, D 20. Fouled out– D: Golackson.