The fight was there from the start for Darlington’s boys’ basketball team on Thursday night.
But after battling for 32 minutes, the Tigers and North Cobb Christian had to play four more minutes to get a winner in their Sweet 16 contest in Kennesaw. And Darlington came up short in the end.
The second round of the Class A Private state playoffs marked the end of the season for Darlington as it came up against the Region 6-A foe and lost 65-62 in overtime.
The Tigers (14-11) held a 57-50 lead with about two-and-a-half minutes left in regulation when the host Eagles put together a final run to make it 59-59 with 28.5 seconds left.
In overtime, Darlington got a good start and was up by three when North Cobb Christian managed to hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute and a half to take the lead for good.
JD Hull led the Tigers with 23 points. The junior crossed the 1,000-point career mark this season. Following him were Barrick Wade, who hit three treys on the way to 13 points, and Griffin Brewster, who added 10 points.
Andrew Land and Sam Tackeberry each finished with eight points and a pair of 3s.
“I’m very proud of the way we competed tonight and throughout the season,” Darlington coach Bradley Pierson said. “With four starters returning next season, I’m excited about the future of Darlington basketball.”
The Tigers held a 37-33 lead at halftime before North Cobb Christian (23-5) bounced back and tied the game up, 45-45, to end the third period.
Darlington entered the playoffs as the No. 12 team in the GHSA Class A Private Power Ratings, while North Cobb Christian was rated at No. 5.
The loss ends Pierson’s first season as the head coach at his alma mater. Darlington defeated Fellowship Christian in the first round of the playoffs to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in nine years.