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February 8, 2023

1/20/2023 12:43:00 PM
Redbirds hand Pointers first loss 73-70 overtime

By Levi Zimmerman
Darlington was the site of a highly contested boys basketball game between the sixth-ranked Redbirds and the undefeated Mineral Point Pointers Thursday.
After narrowly losing to Belleville at the start of the season, Darlington entered the midseason SWAL matchup on a 10-game winning streak.
Meanwhile, head coach Dan Burreson's Pointers entered unbeaten at 10-0.
Mineral Point suffered a blow recently, as leading-scorer Eli Lindsey, a sophomore, sustained an apparent foot injury, as he was in a medical boot Thursday.
Despite losing a big piece in the puzzle, Mineral Point has shown they can adjust and play at a high level.
The Pointers pride themselves on the "next man up" mindset and have demonstrated what a team can accomplish if they play together and for one another.
It was neck-and-neck from the start, but Darlington took an 11-7 lead after baskets by Carver Fitzsimons and Will Murray.
The Pointers had early baskets by senior Luke Kisgen, senior Cooper Palzkill and junior Landon Thousand.
Fitzsimons was causing issues for Mineral Point early, as the game plan was to get him the ball in the post, and he had many touches, most of which came on lob passes, which the Pointers weren't always able to defend.
Darlington went on an eight-point run and was on top 20-12 until Thousand ended the spurt with a two.
Junior Bryce Vamstad was promoted to a starting role and drilled a big three-pointer to bring Mineral Point within one score with 4:25 left in the first half.
Vamstad would then block a shot, which resulted in Thousand assisting Kisgen on a basket, bringing the score to 20-19.
The Redbirds went on another run as the first half came to a close, as freshman Broker Buschor drilled a three and Fitzsimons and Murray had baskets.
Darlington led 32-23 at halftime.
The second half played out much like the first, except the Pointers had more success offensively.
Vamstad found a groove, especially from the perimeter, as he knocked down four more three-pointers in the second half.
After a charge call went against Darlington, Vamstad drilled a big three with less than four minutes left, bringing the Pointers within four, 54-50.
But he would soon find himself in foul trouble, as he picked up his fourth personal foul on a shot attempt by Fitzsimons, who split his free throws, making one.
Mineral Point went down the court and cut it to one after Thousand brought down a rebound and assisted junior Alex Ross on a deep three-pointer with 2:35 remaining.
Ahead 56-55, the Redbirds got the ball to Fitzsimons, who was fouled after getting his own rebound; he split the free throws again to give his team a two-point lead.
The Pointers eventually tied it at 57 after a two-point floater by Thousand with 90 seconds left.
On the other end, Fitzsimons was fouled underneath, but he missed the front end, giving the ball back to Mineral Point.
Winding down the clock, the Pointers looked for a shot, and Ross took it, launching a deep three-point attempt, which swished through the net, giving Mineral Point a 60-57 lead with 33 seconds left.
Ross would then make a big block on the other end, denying the Redbirds.
But the Redbirds wouldn't be denied forever.
Fitzsimons shot a step back three-pointer, and it went in, tying it at 60 with 15 seconds left.
Mineral Point wasn't able to get a shot off in the final possession, sending it into overtime.
The four-minute overtime period was back-and-forth, as Fitzsimons scored early, but Vamstad answered with another three.
The Redbirds took back the lead after scores by Murray and Brady Long.
After a contested three by Thousand fell no good, Mineral Point sent Darlington's Reagan Jackson to the free throw line with 10 seconds left, trailing 70-67.
Jackson made the second in double bonus.
Mineral Point got the ball into Vamstad's hot hand in the ensuing possession, as he went up for a three-point attempt, but he was fouled, putting him on the line with four seconds left.
The junior rose to the occasion, drilling all three free throws, bringing the score to 71-70.
Darlington nearly had the inbound pass stolen, as it was deflected off a Pointer.
With two seconds remaining, Long was fouled and made two key free throws to put the Redbirds ahead by three.
Having to go the length of the court, the Pointers passed the ball to Thousand, who took a couple dribbles and launched a half-court shot that bounced off the backboard and the rim but fell no good, as Darlington escaped with a 73-70 win.
The Redbirds moved atop the SWAL at 5-0 with the win.
Mineral Point fell to 10-1 overall and 4-1 in the SWAL.
Mineral Point 23 37 10 70
Darlington 32 28 13 73
MINERAL POINT 70: (fg-ft-tp) Kennicker 1-1-3, Ross 2-0-6, Thousand 7-0-18, Vamstad 5-6-21, L. Filardo 0-0-0, Kisgen 5-5-15, Radtke 0-0-0, Palzkill 2-1-7. Totals- 22-13/25-70. Fouls-18
DARLINGTON 73: Fitzsimons 12-3-28, W. Murray 8-4-21, Gille 0-0-0, Lancaster 0-0-0, Jackson 2-2-6, Long 2-5-9, C. Murray 1-0-2, Buschor 2-2-7. Totals- 27-16/25-73. Fouls-15
3-point goals:
MINERAL POINT (13)- Vamstad 5, Thousand 4, Ross 2, Palzkill 2
DARLINGTON (3)- Fitzsimons 1, W. Murray 1, Buschor 1

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