There is a difference from last season that Darlington girls’ basketball coach Hazel Hall is enjoying as her team just begins its newest journey.
Between the experience retained from a committed core of returning players to a dedicated squad of fresh faces, the Lady Tigers are prepared to keep pressure on their opponents through substitution and effective defense.
Those two aspects came to light in Tuesday’s non-region contest at Model as Darlington used a 13-0 run in the first period to propel itself to a 55-37 win over the host Lady Blue Devils.
“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a lot different from last year. We have a lot more kids who can do a lot more things, so we try to keep rotating people in and out, and not lose a whole lot,” Hall said.
Darlington (2-0) had a 22-7 second quarter to lead 35-12 at halftime, powered by four of its six 3-pointers in the game. Model (0-1) was down 52-19 early in the fourth before going on a 16-0 run and outscoring the visitors 18-4 in the final six minutes.
By the time Olivia Adams and Karoline Hunt hit back-to-back 3’s with just over two minutes left in the first half, Darlington had taken full control of the game’s momentum.
“We’ve got big girls that can move, and that is huge. So when we can put them on the front of our press and not have to put them back, it makes it hard for guards to see over them,” Hall said. “We got some turnovers that way, but I thought that defensively we did a pretty good job of scrambling out of that and getting them picked up. I was happy all the way around with the way we played.”
Caroline Dingler led Darlington with 12 points, while Lauren Childs and Olivia Adams both had nine, including a pair of 3’s. Childs was also 3-for-3 at the line as the Lady Tigers finished 9-of-13 overall.
Sophomore Emmaline Ratledge had seven points as 11 of the 12 players on Darlington’s roster scored.
“There were a lot of contributions from everyone on the court tonight. We’ve been working on our chemistry a lot, especially, and we have a great group of girls,” Dingler said. “So if we keep playing this way and pushing each other to get better, I’m looking forward to this season.”
Model senior Madison Harper led all scorers with 13 points, five of which came in the Lady Devils’ run in the fourth period. Nia Allen and Montana Moats each finished with eight points as well as two 3-pointers.
Both Darlington and Model will play in the Chattooga Thanksgiving Classic, which starts Thursday.
In other action:
Armuchee girls 41, Gordon Lee 39
A hard-fought win put the final touch on Armuchee’s girls’ annual Cancer Classic game Tuesday night as the Lady Indians pulled out a 41-39 victory over Gordon Lee.
Katie Shinholster and Olivia Moses each scored 10 points to lead Armuchee (2-0), while Julia Williams had nine. Chloe Purdy, Arionna Dozier and Grace Stanley all finished with four points.
The team honored former Armuchee basketball coach and breast cancer survivor Carol Waddell during the game, as well as Gordon Lee sophomore Macy Sharp, who is battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Armuchee will begin play in the Mt. Zion Thanksgiving Tournament in Carrollton on Saturday with its first game against Bowdon.
Unity Christian boys 71, Hearts Academy 42
Austin Wilkerson scored 15 points and Huston Bryant added 14 as the Unity Christian boys’ rolled to a 71-42 win over Hearts Academy on the road.
The game was also the Lions’ first in the new GAPPS Division 1-A Region 1A.
Unity (2-0, 1-0 Region 1A) also got help from Tahiri Tolbert and Levi Lodge, who each scored eight points.
The Lions will be back in action Monday as they visit Pepperell.
MONDAY’S GAME Armuchee boys 105, Morris Innovative 23
Junior Darrell Trejo recorded a double-double as the Armuchee boys’ exploded for a 105-23 win over Morris Innovative on Monday night for the Indians’ first win of the season.
Trejo finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the non-region tilt to lead five Armuchee players in double-digit scoring. Luke Mayhall had 14 points, while Ethan Aker, Sylvester Bassey, and Wyatt Miller each had 12.
“We were glad to get our first win of the season,” Armuchee coach Clint Decker said. “We feel like we have a team that can play really hard and fast. We just have to keep working at what we can improve on and get ready for region play.”
Armuchee (1-1) will complete the home-and-home series with Morris on Thursday in Dalton.