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Sports >  High school sports

Dylan Darling scores 30 points; Central Valley eliminated by Kamiakin in 4A first-round game

UPDATED: Wed., March 2, 2022

Central Valley’s Dylan Darling, right, dribbles around the defense of Kamiakin’s Trey Arland during action in a State 4A State first-round loser-out game in Tacoma, Wash. on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Darling led all scorers with 30 points but Kamiakin won 77-71 to advance.  (Patrick Hagerty/For The Spokesman-Review)
Central Valley’s Dylan Darling, right, dribbles around the defense of Kamiakin’s Trey Arland during action in a State 4A State first-round loser-out game in Tacoma, Wash. on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Darling led all scorers with 30 points but Kamiakin won 77-71 to advance. (Patrick Hagerty/For The Spokesman-Review)

Dylan Darling has done everything for Central Valley this season, including breaking the single-game and season-average scoring records in the Greater Spokane League.

On Wednesday at Tacoma Dome, in the Bears’ State 4A first-round loser-out game against fourth-seeded Kamiakin, the 6-foot-2 guard was even asked to defend the Braves’ 6-foot-8 post Tyler Bilodeau, who will play for Oregon State in the fall, for long stretches of the game.

Darling did what he could, including scoring 30 points, hitting 12 of 16 at the line, and dishing nine assists. In the end though, Bilodeau and the Braves were just too much.

Bilodeau finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds, Peter Dress added 19 on five 3-pointers and the Braves eliminated the Bears 77-71.

“That’s a really good team and really good coach,” Darling said of Kamiakin. “They just got the best of us tonight.”

He enjoyed the assignment of guarding Bilodeau.

“He’s super talented. He’s gonna be – he’s already super good. And it’s fun to battle with him, man.”

Daniel Crowley added 14 points and Ryan Griego had 12 for the Bears (18-7).

“If you look around the dome tonight, there’s one that looks like it doesn’t belong and it’s kind of us,” Central Valley acting head coach Geoff Arte said. “I told the guys in the huddle there, ‘You know, no one expected us to be playing basketball in March.’”

“We were probably picked fifth or sixth in the league when you look at us, and we’re here in the top 12. So yeah, I mean, it’s hard right now but tomorrow when we ride home on the bus, it’ll start to feel a little better and they can reflect on it a little bit more and be proud of what they’ve accomplished.”

It’s the second time in two weeks Kamiakin beat CV, following a 65-62 decision in a District 8 semifinal on Feb. 15. The Braves (19-4) face No. 3 Union in a quarterfinal on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.

“We tried to stop Darling, he’s a great player,” Bilodeau said. “The message was play defense, get rebounds. Those were probably the biggest things.”

Crowley’s second 3-pointer of the first quarter gave CV a 17-15 lead after one. Darling started to assert himself in the second, driving the lane and getting to the line. He made 8 of 9 free throw attempts in the frame, but Bilodeau had six points in the paint and Kamiakin led 34-32 at the break.

The Braves started the third with an 8-0 run and opened a 10-point lead. Darling converted a three-point play, then nailed a long 3 to get it back to four.

But Fabian Hernandez hit a 3 from the corner and Trey Arland (14 points) hit from 30 feet at the horn and Kamiakin led 58-48 entering the fourth.

Griego’s 3 with 90 seconds left got it to single digits, but CV couldn’t find another run to extend its season.

“Nobody thought we’d be here,” Darling said. “And that just goes out to all the guys and then battling and going hard every single day in practice.”

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