Falcons scrimmage, prepare for season opener
By Drake Horton, Contributing Writer
The Darlington Falcons boys’ basketball team will not play in its first regular season game of the season until November 30, but that does not mean the boys are not getting some game time experience beforehand.
Not worrying about the score, instead worrying about fundamentals and schemes, the Falcons hosted both Sumter and Mullins High School in a preseason scrimmage that Darlington head coach Ken Howle found both productive and beneficial.
“The thing we have taken away from it is we have to work on our conditioning,” Howle said on how his team played during the scrimmage. “They looked tired and again our football people (players that were on the football team) haven’t had time on the court. I like how we shared the basketball; I don’t think we shot it particularly well tonight.”
As it has been for the last two to three years, Frankie Johnson, Marquis Green and Tyriq Smith manned the guards for the sharp-shooting Falcons who have built a reputation for being lethal from the outside, but Howle and the Falcons showed some different things from what they have done in the past.
Defensively in the opening scrimmage against Sumter, the Falcons showed off a trap defense, different from their typical zone all while going back to the zone when it faced off against Mullins in the next scrimmage.
Throughout the scrimmage Darlington rotated every player on its bench and used multiple combinations and sets as it tried to get as many different looks as possible on film. The rotations that Darlington did were completely typical of a scrimmage as Howle would send in as many as five new players in just one substitution.
While Darlington was at times inconsistent with its shooting as Howle mentioned, there were positives and more importantly it came from some of the players not known for getting as much attention.
Jalian Smith, who is a sophomore this season, did a great job on the defensive glass, snagging multiple defensive rebounds while Donavon Johnson probably had the best night out of any Falcon player shooting from outside.
“We had a couple of people stand out tonight,” Howle said on some of the positive player contributions he saw during the scrimmage. “I think Donavan (Johnson) played well tonight, he doesn’t get a lot of attention and for the most part Jalian (Smith) played well from a rebounding standpoint.”
But while Darlington did well on defensive rebounds it struggled getting offensive rebounds and second chance shots and a lot of that has to do with the Falcons outside shooting and there seemed to be times where the offense did not have a good rhythm.
All of that, however, has to be taken with a grain of salt because this Falcon team is seasoned, veteran group, with possibly the best trio of guards in the entire state.
This past Wednesday was a night for Howle and his coaching staff to get a look at the other options on the team and see where the team needs to improve before the games really start to count.
While there was not a winner or loser during the multiple scrimmages this past Wednesday, its importance cannot be overstated. This was the first step towards making it back to state for the Falcons.