DARLINGTON — Gerod McDowell made sure his final home game was memorable.
The Darlington senior poured in a career-high 19 points as the Falcons turned in a dominating performance in defeating Airport 69-50 on Wednesday in the third round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Darlington advances to the Lower State championship for the second straight season. The Falcons will face Myrtle Beach on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Florence Civic Center.
McDowell didn’t play his first three seasons because of academic issues. But the 6-foot-4 forward has made a big impact on the Falcons’ front line and scored in double figures in six of his eight games this season.
Against Airport, McDowell was needed for his offense as he converted on the inside of many of the Falcons’ transition opportunities.
Johnson shared team-high honors with McDowell by scoring 19 points.
Darlington used its speed and pressure defense in jumping to a quick start for the second straight playoff game. The Falcons used an 8-0 run in the second quarter to lead 31-17 with 2:10 left before halftime.
Darlington extended the lead to 54-30 with two minutes left in the third and weren’t threatened the rest of the way. Airport committed 22 turnovers.
C.J. Wright led Airport (20-5) with 16 points. He left the game early in the second quarter with a cut on his eye. He returned later in quarter and played with a bandage on it for the rest of the game. All-state selection Quan Bovain finished with three points.