Darlington boys’ basketball coach Bradley Pierson is still learning something in each game during his first season as the Tigers’ head coach.
On Tuesday, he learned how well his team can answer under pressure
The Tigers rode a Barrick Wade 3-pointer with 7 seconds left to take a 54-52 win over Trion in a Region 6-A/A matchup at Darlington.
In the earlier game, the Darlington girls’ fell to the visiting Lady Bulldogs 42-32.
“It’s crucial that we play and come away with games like this,” Pierson said. “It’s always great to improve from a win, and we improved by making plays down the stretch. We grew a little tonight with our execution.”
Junior forward JD Hull notched 19 points for Darlington while Wade posted 17 points, including 12 in the second half. Senior Jarrett Gill led the Bulldogs (3-3, 0-3 6-A/A) with 23 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers (3-1, 2-0) led by 10 in the fourth before Trion came back, culminating in a game-tying Gill 3-pointer at 51 with 15 seconds left. After Wade’s shot and a Trion free throw, Jarrett Van Gurp missed a 3-point attempt that could’ve won the game for Trion.
Early on, Darlington built its lead thanks to a dominant Hull and the middle and shooters around the floor.
“We got a couple of solid big guys, but we are going to be more perimeter oriented,” Pierson said. “I feel like we are capable of putting four guards out there, all capable of making plays and making buckets.”
In the girls’ game, Caroline Dingler was the only Darlington player with double digits, scoring 15 points. Meanwhile, Shayla Youngblood led Trion with 12 points.
The Lady Bulldogs (4-2, 3-0) led from the second quarter on, playing behind a solid zone defense that frustrated Darlington most of the night. Trion’s lead was cut to one in the fourth, 33-32, but the Lady Bulldogs finished the game on a 9-0 run.
The Lady Tigers (1-3, 0-2) managed just 12 points in the first half, struggling on offense. But a 13-point outburst in the final quarter displayed a sign of progress for the young team.
“We are not a big basketball team, so we are going to have to move the basketball really well,” Darlington girls’ coach Tommy Atha said. “We are going to have to be able to attack gaps and create open lanes for good shots.”
Both Darlington teams are off until next week when they begin the annual Seven Hills Rotary/Rome News-Tribune Holiday Festival Tournament.
Trion will host cross-county rival Chattooga in non-region action on Friday.