Facing perennial power St. Francis in the Region 6-A tournament semifinals at Trion High School, Darlington came out as a rejuvenated squad in the second half but couldn’t reverse its early struggles in a 65-27 loss.
The Lady Tigers (17-7) will now turn their attention to the Class A Private state playoffs, which will get underway next week.
Teams will have to wait until the final Power Rankings are released to find out what seed they will be, but Darlington head coach Hazel Hall is hoping for a spot in the top half in order to host the first round.
“We’re not down about this,” Hall said after Friday’s loss. “We’ll just move on to the next step in the process and look toward state. That’s where we are right now and we’ve got to get ready for that.”
St. Francis (22-3) wasted no time asserting their fast-paced game against the Lady Tigers, jumping out to a 15-0 lead before Darlington freshman Emmaline Ratledge managed to find the basket with 2:02 left in the opening quarter.
Down 25-2 heading into the second period, Darlington managed to find a way to slow down the Lady Knights for a while, grabbing defensive rebounds and working to find a way to counter St. Francis’s press, but went into halftime behind 42-5.
Caroline Dingler kicked off the second half with a quick 3-pointer for Darlington and went on to score 10 of her team’s 13 points in the third period. The Lady Tigers outscored St. Francis 9-7 in the final quarter, which was shortened to six minutes because of the mercy rule.
“We’ve played hard this week just like we’ve played hard all year and have had different people step up to help us at times,” Hall said. “Even though Caroline has been our constant, there are girls that continue to improve. We’ve really had some players come on in their shooting, especially in the post where we’ve had some freshmen step up for us.”
Dingler led Darlington with 13 points, including three 3’s, while Karoline Hunt and Annabelle Braden had a trey each.
Rome girls win; boys fall
The Rome High basketball teams completed play in the Region 7-5A tournament Friday with the girls earning a victory and the boys coming up short in the third-place games.
The Lady Wolves (18-10), seeded No. 4 in the tournament at Villa Rica, defeated No. 3 Cass 62-48, while the No. 4 Wolves (16-11) fell to No. 2 Carrollton 78-69.
With the win the Lady Wolves earn the No. 3 seed and the Wolves take the No. 4 seed into next weekend’s Class 5A state tournament. Both teams will be on the road.
Unity Christian boys 61, Killian Hill Christian 34
Following an opening-round loss in the GICAA Region I tournament, the Unity Christian boys’ basketball team bounced back Thursday for a 61-34 win against Killian Hill Christian in the third-place game at Horizon Christian Academy.
Eli Wells scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Lions (14-9), while Hudson Hill scored 16 points, Drew King had 11 points, and Huston Bryant added eight points.
The Lions take the No. 3 seed into the state tournament and will face the No. 2 seed from Region 2 on the road Tuesday.