Coach Howle gets a surprise and a win
By Drake Horton, Contributing Writer
Darlington – Both the Darlington boys’ and girls’ basketball protected its home court with both teams winning by at least 19 points over Lugoff-Elgin.
Darlington 64, Lugoff-Elgin 45 (boys)
Tuesday January 30 had a very special meaning and it was not because of the basketball game that was played. Instead it was because of the man who leads the Darlington Falcons basketball team.
At the end of this season Darlington head coach Ken Howle will step away from teaching and coaching. For the last 13 years he has been the head coach of the Falcons. Next year that will not be the case.
So on this night, without his knowledge, the people closest to Howle put together the most appropriate celebration for a man that has given so much to the Falcons program.
During the halftime of the Lady Falcons game, Howle was brought out to center court where former player after former player walked out to thank Howle for what he meant to them and for what he had done in their life for them.
And for Howle that was more than enough. Yes, the wins are important, the wins are fun and believe me there have been a lot. The region championships and lower state championships were nice and believe me I have covered quite a few with the Falcons, but watching the impact that one person has on another person’s life is by far more important in the grand scheme of everything, and believe me, I saw that with Howle and his players.
“I’m just really overwhelmed over the whole night, to see all the former athletes come in,” Howle said. “That really did it, I think.”
But this is not where the night ends. In actuality the night was only beginning and the best was yet to come.
Despite the celebration, there was still a game to play and while a loss to Lugoff-Elgin would not ruin the night, it could definitely put somewhat of a damper on it when the Falcons are in the midst of competing for another region championship.
Howle’s players, however, would not and did not let
that happen. Instead, from start to finish, the Falcons dominated the Demons capping off a perfect night with a 64-45 victory.
“It was a really emotional night, but a really big night for our kids to win like we did,” Howle said. “I’
m so proud of them of how they played and it was a great evening, a great night to be a Falcon.”
Darlington dominated the first quarter, jumping out to 14-3 and it never looked back, leading from start to finish.
“We got off to a really good start and I think it gave them some confidence,” Howle said.
Defensively, it might have been the purest fundamental game the Falcons have played all year. While holding Lugoff-Elgin to just 45 points was impressive enough, Darlington did it committing only six fouls for the entire game.
The Falcons matched that defensive intensity with offensive efficiency. Darlington was balanced in the scoring column with three players in double-digits, including Jalian Smith who finished with a double-double, 14 points and 12 rebounds.
A big improvement for Darlington offensively was its performance from the charity stripe. For a majority of the season the Falcons have struggled making free throws, but on this night they went 15 of 18 from line. Perhaps the biggest difference in the game with the Demons not even attempting one free throw.
Jamean Muldrow was the Falcons leading scorer with 17 and Kenynon Scott added 11.
Darlington 52, Lugoff-Elgin 19 (girls)
The Darlington Lady Falcons got the historic night started off in dominant fashion, blasting the Lady Demons for a 33-point victory.
Darlington held Lugoff-Elgin to just nine points in the first half and outscored the Lady Demons 17-2 in the third quarter.
If it had not been for Lugoff-Elgin’s back to back three-pointers to end the game, the fourth quarter would have been a two-point quarter for the Lady Demons as well.
The lopsided victory allowed head coach Brad Knox to empty his bench early
and often, giving many reserves the most playing time they have had all year.
Find more pictures from the surprise ceremony here.