Johnson drains the three at the buzzer in overtime to give Falcons the win
By Drake Horton, Contributing Writer
One shot, one milestone.
That short, simple phase sums up the most exciting game of the season this past Tuesday on January 19 as the Darlington Falcons defeated the Crestwood Knights 63-61 in overtime all while a player had a career moment and a coach reached a career milestone.
The game was dynamic, and the effort from every player – both Darlington and Crestwood – was even better.
Both teams went back and forth with the Falcons holding the ball for the last possession in regulation; but with fouls to give, Crestwood was able to keep the ball out of Darlington’s top playmakers hands forcing the extra period after the buzzers sounded with a 48-48 tie.
It was the extra period where everything came together for the Falcons right when it looked like it was about to fall apart.
With just a 60-59 lead after a Crestwood three-pointer with 14 seconds left in the overtime period, Darlington struggled with the first inbounds and had to call its final timeout.
On the next attempt to get the ball in, the Knights did the unthinkable, stealing the inbounds pass of Tyriq Smith and scoring what looked to be the game-winning layup with just 7 seconds left.
This is when it got fun. With the clock ticking, as precious seconds were melting away, a Falcons inbound pass found Smith at midcourt who then found Donavan Johnson drifting to right corner.
“We didn’t have any timeouts, I don’t know what I was thinking, but they (the players) thought enough to get it in and get it up the floor,” Darlington boys head coach Ken Howle said on the final seven seconds of the game.
From there Johnson performed a beautiful catch and shoot, draining the game-winning three-pointer as the buzzer sounded, not only giving the Falcons the win, but giving Howle his 200th career win at Darlington.
“Right now it’s pretty darn special, it puts us in great shape going into the Marlboro County game,” Howle said, referring to his thoughts on the win and achieving the milestone. “I’m just so proud of them, playing shorthanded and stepping up like that. It’s just a real credit to these guys for buying in.”
As Johnson’s shot tickled the twine that makes up the net, the home crowd exploded in excitement with the student section rushing the court to mob Johnson and congratulate him on making the shot.
“It was the last seconds of the game, I had hit a couple of threes in the game so I knew I had to knock that one down so that we could win the game,” Johnson said after hitting the game winning shot against Crestwood.
The game as a whole was very cleanly played as neither team ever got into foul trouble. There was only seven total team fouls between both teams committed in the first half and Darlington, who went five of five from the charity strip for the game, did not make its first free throw attempt until the overtime period.
Leading the Falcons in scoring was Marquis Green, who finished the night with 16 points while big man Jalian Smith had his second consecutive game in double figures with 15 points. Johnson had 11 including the most important three of the night.
Darlington improves to 17-2 overall, 4-0 in the region.
Darlington’s home game against Marlboro County on Friday was cancelled due to inclement weather.