By Drake Horton
Darlington and Wilson squared off on the hard court this past Friday night in Darlington with the Wilson Lady Tigers winning the girls’ game and the Darlington Falcons winning the boys’ game.
Darlington (boys) 73, Wilson (boys) 60
The day Anthony Heilbronn was hired to guide the Darlington Falcons boys’ basketball team, he made a number known to his new team. That number was 1,119.
You might ask what that number means. That was the number of days since Darlington had beaten the Wilson Tigers in basketball.
That number will now have to start over as the Falcons used a 23-point third quarter to win 73-60 in front of a home crowd thirsting for this victory.
“That third quarter, we should be playing like that all the time,” Heilbronn said. “We came out, we did alright, we kind of got in a little slump, got a little low and (Wilson) built up an 11-point lead. We need to play from behind some. We are so use to be frontrunners we need to learn how to come back. I challenged them at halftime. I said we need stops. If we don’t stop them they are going to pull away and they responded extremely well.”
This was not your typical Darlington game, however. The Falcons have always lived and died by the three-pointer. If shots are falling, the Falcons are soaring and if not, then they are crashing.
Well, on this particular Friday night, the shots did not fall. In fact it was probably one of the worst performances Darlington has had from behind the arc in quite some time, hitting only four three-pointers for the entire game. But through that the Falcons learned a very valuable lesson. They can win without the three.
“That is something I have stressed to them,” Heilbronn said. “I said we are not going to win every game hitting 10, 12 threes; we have to find other ways to win whether it’s put backs, free throws; we have to find ways to win. That is what good teams do.”
The Falcons trailed by one point after the first quarter and by six points at the half, but that would not last long. After just two minutes into the third quarter Darlington had tied the game and Wilson never led again.
Darlington had a trio of scorers in double-digits with Kenynon Scott leading the way with 17, Ty Johnson finishing with 16 and Daniel Perkins wrapping it up with 12.
With the win Darlington is now 14-2 overall on the year and 1-0 in region play.
Darlington (girls) 38, Wilson (girls) 44
It was close, but it was no cigar.
That was the thought as the Darlington Lady Falcons watched their game against the Wilson Lady Tigers slip right out from underneath them.
Leading by one with less than two minutes to go, Darlington’s offense went cold and Wilson went on a 7-0 run to end the game, resulting in a 44-38 victory for the Lady Tigers.
It was a rough start for Darlington in the first half as the Lady Falcons failed to score a single point in first quarter until the 2:17 mark.
The second quarter was almost a mirror image of the first as Darlington once again started off cold, not scoring its first points of the quarter until the 2:10 mark and that was off of two free throws. The Lady Falcons did not make their first field goal of the quarter until a minute before halftime.
Despite such a slow start for both quarters, Darlington was down only seven at the half and in the third quarter it was like a light switch came on for the Lady Falcons.
Darlington outscored Wilson 9-4 in the third quarter and the Lady Falcons rode that momentum into the fourth quarter going back and forth, trading basket for basket until those final two minutes where the Lady Tigers were finally able to pull away.
The loss, however, is not deterring head coach Brad Knox. In his third year as head coach he has been trying relentlessly to teach his girls that they have to fight night in and night out and he feels like they gave him every bit of that effort on this night.
“First off, I want to give hats off to Wilson; they are still a good team,” Knox said. “I am just proud of my girls and how they fought. It’s been eight to 10 years since we have even been close with them, to even hang with them.”