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Darlington upsets top-seeded Vanguards
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MAZOMANIE - Sophomore Kathleen Mathias scored a team-high 13 points and the Darlington girls basketball team upset top-seeded Wisconsin Heights 54-47 to win a WIAA Division 4 regional championship game Monday.

Darlington (17-7) led wire-to-wire against top-seeded Wisconsin Heights. The Redbirds made 4 of 6 free throws in the final 1 minute, 19 seconds to seal the win.

"We have been working hard and building this program for four years," Darlington coach Kelly Rose said. "We have several classes all coming together now. Coming together and winning a regional championship is more than we could have hoped for this year. We are lucky enough to keep going."

Darlington advances to a sectional semifinal where the Redbirds will play SWAL rival Mineral Point, the defending Division 4 state champions, Thursday in Monroe.

The Redbirds split two games with the SWAL co-champion Pointers (19-5) this season. The Redbirds, who tied for third in the SWAL, lost a game at Mineral Point 48-39 and then beat the Pointers 60-50 Feb. 2 in Darlington.

"It's definitely going to be a very physical and competitive game," Rose said of the matchup with the Pointers on Thursday. "I'm glad we are at a neutral site. It's going to be a defensive battle."

Mathias had a key offensive rebound and putback with about 11 minutes left to help the Redbirds maintain the lead. The Redbirds led by as many as 13 points after senior Taryn Rankin knocked down a jumper to give the Redbirds a 43-30 lead with 7:07 left. The Vanguards got within five points late, but the Redbirds were able to hang on by knocking down clutch free throws.

Darlington sophomore Kaylee Meyers added nine points, while senior Callie Norton pitched in eight points. Senior Sadie Fitzsimons and junior Kennedy Rankin each chipped in seven points.