Darlington uses fourth quarter run to beat Hartsville
By Drake Horton
It was the Darlington Falcons second straight game without Frankie Johnson and for the second straight time nothing really changed as the Falcons used a strong fourth quarter to defeat the Hartsville Red Foxes 59-44 on Friday.
It was not as easy as the score indicated, however, as Hartsville gave Falcons everything and then some even if it was self-inflicted with Darlington’s 18 turnovers and 17-29 on free throws.
“We just didn’t make free throws down the stretch,” Darlington boys head coach Ken Howle said on his team’s struggles against Hartsville. “That was really a struggle for us in the first half.”
Up by seven at the end of the first quarter, Darlington let Hartsville back into game and the Red Foxes took a one-point, 20-19 lead into the locker room at the half.
“At halftime we talked about dealing with adversity- and we can feel sorry for ourselves all we want to, but we just have to make free throws and rebound,” Howle said, explaining what he talked to his team about during halftime.
The lead did not last long as both teams battled in the third quarter, basically matching basket for basket until Darlington went on a 10-2 run and finished the quarter with a 35-31 lead.
“I’m just real proud of the way the guys responded,” Howle said on how he liked how his bounced back from a poor first half. “At halftime it was a beaten team it looked like because I felt like we had so many opportunities in the first half to push out the lead and we felt like if we got up on them Hartsville would try to start doing too much, pressing a little bit.”
The Falcons showed off their experience and more importantly their talent in the fourth and final period finishing the game on a 15-3 run, ruining any chance of Hartsville pulling the upset.
Darlington did not get the production from some of its players that it did in the previous game, but while others were quiet, Jalian Smith, the 6-5 sophomore, showed what he is capable of doing, scoring 14 points while snagging 10 rebounds.
“I was just doing what I’ve been doing in practice and did it in the game,” Smith said on his performance. “It was matchup and practice; I’ve played them before, and I did the same thing before.”
Marquis Green led the Falcons once again in scoring with 15 points, but it was a very quiet 15 as Green failed to hit any from outside the arch. Tyriq Smith added 13 points for the Falcons, but Howle was impressed with Smith and sophomore Montrell Timmons.
“Everybody stepped up, Montrell did a really good job, he’s up from the JV,” Howle said on how the team performed. “Jalian was huge for us, if we can get that effort from him every game that would be good.”
As Frankie’s hand continues to heal Darlington is continuing to find ways to win and that is helping build the confidence in a team that already has plenty of confidence and looks poised for a run at the state championship.
Darlington is 16-2 overall, and 3-0 in the region.