Model-Darlington Girls Basketball

Darlington girls’ coach Hazel Hall (left) and Model girls’ coach Sally Echols will lead their teams in Holy Innocents’ MLK Classic on Monday in Atlanta.

Teams across the state will get a chance to showcase their skills Monday in Atlanta, while at the same time honoring the memory of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Joining in the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be the Model’s girls’ basketball team as well as Darlington’s boys’ and girls’ teams at the 2020 MLK Classic, which is being hosted by Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School.

Model girls’ coach Sally Echols jumped at the chance to play in the tournament when she was contacted by Holy Innocents’ girls’ coach Nichole Dixon.

“Any time we can be a part of something that’s bigger than basketball, we want that opportunity,” Echols said. “We’re really excited about that. It’s a great community event, obviously in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and what kind of leader he was, so we’re excited to play a part in that.”

The one-day event will feature 12 games divided between two gyms. The Darlington girls will get the action going in the main gym with a 10 a.m. game against Galloway. The Darlington boys will follow with a matchup against Galloway at 11:30 a.m.

The Model girls will face Class 6A Northview at 1:30 p.m. in the third game of the day in Holy Innocents’ Duncan Gym.

The Lady Tigers defeated Galloway last season 48-31 in the opening round of the Class A Private state playoffs, so coach Hazel Hall thinks this matchup will be a good barometer to see how her team is doing as they enter the last stretch of games in the regular season. The Lady Scots are 14-4 so far this season.

“It gives a chance to play someone who’s having a really good year,” Hall said. “It gives us a pretty good test to see how we’re playing and where we are at this point.”

The Lady Tigers are coming off their fifth straight win — a 46-29 win against Region 6-A/A foe Gordon Lee on Friday.

Caroline Dingler was the leading scorer for Darlington (17-2, 8-0 6-A/A) with 17 points in the region contest while adding six assists and six steals. Jy Jy Johnson was next with 10 points for the Lady Tigers.

Following the tournament, the Darlington boys (8-10) and girls will go up against Region 6-A/A foe North Cobb Christian on Tuesday, while the Model girls (7-12) host Coosa in Region 7-AA play.

Featuring more than just basketball, the MLK Classic will honor the memory of King with a presentation of his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech that he delivered on April 3, 1968, at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee, the day before he was assassinated.

Attendees will also get the chance to meet Charles Person, a civil rights activist who participated in the 1961 Freedom Rides.

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