DARLINGTON, S.C. — Darlington coach Anthony Heilbronn doesn’t know why his team struggled so much against Wilson’s zone defense on Tuesday.
“We’re a good shooting team,” he said. “They came out and they extended enough — we just couldn’t get it going early. We struggled offensively.
“But we hit shots when it mattered down the stretch.”
Perhaps none bigger than Daniel Perkins’ putback with 1:08 remaining that gave the Falcons the lead for good. They went 4 for 4 from the free throw line as well to hold on for a 40-35 victory against the rival Tigers.
With North Myrtle Beach’s victory, Darlington will enter the playoffs as a No. 4 seed in next week’s state tournament.
“We’ve won two straight to end the season, beating our rival Hartsville and our rival Wilson, so momentum-wise it’s good,” Heilbronn said. “Playoffs are all about matchups, and I feel like we’ve got a fair pull first round and potential second round.
“We’ll see what happens next week.”
The Falcons will likely need more clutch efforts like they got down the stretch against the Tigers. They connected on just one three-pointer in the second half, but it was a big one as Tre’Quan Scott’s trey put them up 34-32.
The Tigers rallied behind a three-point play by leading scorer Nyjae Hines, who finished with a game-high 15 points.
But Perkins’ final basket of the game proved to be the difference as Davion Bowens came down with a big rebound on the other end to help send the Falcons to the foul line.
Scott and Javorious Williams each hit both of their free throw attempts to seal the victory for DHS.
“We actually initially played really good defense, but we didn’t secure the rebound (on Perkins’ shot),” Wilson coach Ken Spencer said. “But our guys came out and played hard. I can see the growth in our program. We’re on the right track to get back to where we need to be.”
Zandae Butler added eight points for Wilson while Perkins led the Falcons with 10.
W 8 11 7 9 — 35
D 5 15 5 15 — 40
Nyjae Hines 15, Butler 8, Sherrills 6, Green 4, Robinson 2.
Daniel Perkins 10, Lewis 7, Scott 5, Williams 4, Gary 4, Hudson 4, Bowens 3, Dubose 2.
RECORDS: Wilson 7-19, 1-9. D 17-9, 5-5.