DARLINGTON – Take the top player away from any team, and it’s usually difficult to keep winning. Unless they’re the Darlington boys basketball team.
The Falcons lost star guard Frankie Johnson to a hand injury earlier this month, but they’re 4-0 since. Johnson, in his fifth year as a starter, leads the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals, but his absence hasn’t slowed Darlington down.
“The guys behind him and that play with him – all of them have stepped up and contributed greatly,” Falcons coach Ken Howle said Thursday. “And we’ve been real fortunate to pick up some wins while he’s been out.”
Darlington (18-2, 5-0 Region 6-3A) ranks No. 2 in the latest Class 3A coaches poll. The Falcons host No. 5 Lakewood Friday in their toughest test since losing Johnson. They’re 2-0 against the Gators this year including a 78-74 win Jan. 8. Johnson broke a bone in his hand in that game but still scored 16. He’s been out since.
Howle says the injury is healing nicely, but he wants to take extra care to make sure it heals fully. He expects the senior guard to return “in the very near future.”
Tune in to News13 at 11 Friday for highlights from the Falcons matchup with Lakewood.