GENOA - Brittany Darling was a Comet on fire last night. The 6-foot-3 post player was unstoppable in sparking Genoa's rout of Elmwood last night.
Darling poured in a career-high 38 points and pulled down 15 rebounds to lead the Comets to a 79-62 win over the Royals.
"Sometimes I just feel so confident," said Darling, who scored 34 of her points within a foot of the basket. "I was surprised they didn't double team me. My guards noticed it right away. I was open and they did a good job getting the ball to me."
Genoa (14-2, 9-2) kept pace with Eastwood in the chase for the Suburban Lakes League title. Elmwood (11-7, 8-3) fell a game behind the leaders.
Darling dominated in the paint, scoring 11 of her points in the pivotal second quarter and 12 in the third.
"I'm just glad we won," Darling said. "I want that title really bad. I hope Elmwood takes care of Eastwood so we can get first."
Genoa opened the second quarter with a 10-1 run. The Royals missed their first nine shots and finished the quarter 3-of-14. The Comets grabbed a 42-28 lead as Darling scored the last seven points of the half for her team.
"Our guards did a really nice job getting it into her and she finishes really, really well," said Genoa coach Tom Kontak. "This is what Brittany brings if she stays in the game and stays out of foul trouble."
Darling, who leads the league in rebounding with 11.4 per game, grabbed 11 of her 15 boards in the second half.
Genoa's other post players, Mallory Imbery (12 points) and Ashley Robertson (10), also had big games. Imbery had eight rebounds and Robertson finished with seven. Guard Abbey Kontak also scored 10 points.
"We're not one dimensional. We have two other players [Robertson and Imbery] that are phenomenal," Kontak said. "But we know where our bread is buttered."
Elmwood's Brooke Morgart, who came into the contest leading the SLL in scoring with 19.1 points per game, posted a season-high 33 points.
"She's a battler," said Royals coach Gary Reynolds. "We could use 10 of her."
Reynolds said giving up 42 points in one half to a team like Genoa spelled disaster. Down by as many as 24 points early in the fourth quarter, Elmwood ended up finishing 9 of 31 from 3-point range.
"We dug ourselves a big hole and [shooting 3s] turned into our game plan," he said.
Darling opened up a 74-50 lead with a bunny in the post that typified her evening.
"We weren't pressing their guards enough and once she catches it there, it's money. It's automatic," Reynolds said. "When she gets to that spot it's a disaster for us."
Morgart had pulled the Royals within 11 points midway through the third. Morgart took a defensive rebound, turned it into a layup, scored and was fouled.
"[Morgart] is pound for pound the toughest kid I've ever coached against," Kontak said.
But Darling responded with three straight unanswered baskets in the paint as the Comets jumped out to an insurmountable 56-39 lead.
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