Lady Falcons take down Hartsville for first region victory
By Drake Horton
Already down 0-2 in the region the Darlington Lady Falcons desperately needed a win against its arch rival and region rival, the Hartsville Lady Red Foxes. This past Friday, in front of buzzing home crowd, a win is exactly what they got.
But in reality it was more than just a win, it was a momentum booster, a shot of adrenaline, something that was necessary if this team is going to come back and compete for a region championship.
That is what happens when you defeat your rival by a score of 66-44.
Behind Deena House, who finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds, Darlington took a two-point lead at half and turned it into a 22-point victory in route to the Lady Falcons first region victory of the year.
“We told Deena House that she wasn’t Deena House in the first two region games,” Darlington girls’ head coach Jabari Deas said after the win. “She was due for a breakout, Deena House style game and she was aggressive early and she gave us that early. She kept the pressure going and she was in attack mode tonight and when Deena is in attack mode nobody can stay in front of her in South Carolina.”
The first half was close as Hartsville lead by two at the end of the first quarter. From there on, however, the Lady Falcons took it to the Lady Red Foxes.
A technical foul helped Darlington grab the lead at the end of the second quarter allowing the Lady Falcons to go into the half with a two-point lead.
Coming out of the locker strong after the first half is something Deas preaches to his girls’ night in and night out and against Hartsville they did just that.
From the start of the third quarter it was obvious that Darlington wanted the game more than the Lady Red Foxes.
From the effort on loose balls, the aggressive defense, to the Lady Falcons brilliant shooting it was clear to everybody that Darlington was not losing to Hartsville on this night.
In the first half the Lady Falcons shot only seven of 24 from the field, but in the second half Darlington stepped up and bettered its shooting percentage by going 15 of 31 for 48%. More important than that was the fact that Darlington went 4/5 from behind the arc, with three of those five being made in the second half.
House, who led the team in scoring, was an example of balance as she scored 15 points in the first half and 15 points in the second half.
“It took my team and my coach to push me,” House said, who had 30 points after two subpar region games.
Helping House lead Darlington to its win over Hartsville was Heidi McNeil and Deja Turner.
“Deja can finish,” Deas said on his guard, who came off the bench. “For her to be so small Deja can finish in traffic; she throws it high off the glass and plays aggressive.”
Turner, who has not contributed on a consistent basis this season, came up big in transition for Darlington, scoring her seven points on what seemed to be fast-break opportunities.
“We just had to play our hardest”, Turner said after the game. “This was our first region win, it’s against Hartsville, and we just had to pull it out.”
McNeil, a starter, was the second leading scorer for Darlington with 10 points, but more importantly it was her two threes in the second half that helped propel the Lady Falcons to lopsided win.
“We were in a tight situation,” McNeil said. “All I had to do was shoot a three and get my team together.”
The Lady Falcons lost their other game this to the Manning Monarchs on January 13 in Manning by a score of 53-39.