The shooting percentage may not have been as good as it was when both of these teams met earlier this season, but the balance in scoring was just as good and that was all the Darlington Falcons needed.
“Our guys had a good day yesterday,” Darlington boys’ head coach Ken Howle said on what he felt helped Darlington get the win over Hartsville. “I think they felt good going into tonight and it was a big game for us regardless of what their (Hartsville) record is, we needed it to stay in the hunt.”
Behind four players in double digits in scoring, the Falcons beat the Hartsville Red Foxes for a third straight time this year by a score of 83-61 in Hartsville.
“At halftime we talked about making good decisions with our shots,” Howle said on his team’s balanced scoring. “There was a time when Tyriq should have shot the three and he tried to drive it and there was a time when Marquis shot the three and he should have driven it. It’s good to get good balance, I think when we get balance we are going to be a tough team to take out. We share the ball, talk to them about sharing the ball and they did that.”
Leading the way for Darlington in scoring was Frankie Johnson with 20 points, but right behind was fellow guard Tyriq Smith, who finished with 19 points.
“I thought we played pretty good,” Smith, commenting on what Darlington did well, said.
We shot the ball pretty good in the first half, we just capitalized on what they were doing wrong and stopped some of them turnovers and we started look- ing more positively on the offensive end.”
Complimenting both Johnson and Smith was J.J. Jackson, who scored 13 points and Louis Richardson, who finished with 12 points, including two huge dunks that electrified the Darlington fans who traveled to Hartsville for the game.
Down 7-2 to start the first quarter, Darlington responded with a 21-0 run in the first quarter and from there Hartsville was never able to come back.
The Falcons kept their strong play up in the second quarter, starting the quarter on a 10-0 run that for all intents and pur- poses put the game out of reach.
Hartsville actually showed some life in the third quarter only getting outscored 23-20, but that was by far the best quarter the Red Foxes had as Darlington cruised in the fourth quarter.
Darlington’s balance of offense against the Red Foxes was really impressive over the course of the game and how the Falcons won was a completely different script from how they won at home earlier this month.
The last time these two teams met up, Darlington exploded in the first quarter, draining almost every three-pointer it shot and basically kept with that game plan as the game went along.
This time, however, Darlington was a modest 6-18 from behind the arc and instead of being flashy with the jump shot, the Falcons mixed in jumpers with drives to the lane and kept Hartsville’s defense off balance the entire night.
Darlington is 17-6 overall, 7- 2 in the region.
Darlington dropped its other game of the week this past week on February 3 against Marlboro County in Bennettsville by a score of 68- 56
Dooming the Falcons in that game was the second quarter when the Bulldogs outscored Darlington 15-3.