After falling behind in the first quarter, the Destin Marlins took charge in the second half to pull off a 31-26 victory over the visiting Lewis Falcons in boy’s middle school basketball action Wednesday evening at Regatta Bay.
"We had to shake off some of the rust," said Destin Coach Ron Griffiths. He attributed a lot of the Marlins missed shots in the first half to being off for more then 30 days. "We haven't played since December 12. But I thought we settled in quite nice."
Destin came out taking an early 6-2 lead, but then gave up seven consecutive points to the Falcons for a 9-6 advantage at the buzzer.
In the second quarter, the lead swapped hands five times before the Marlins claimed a 16-15 mark at the half. Ryan Romair and Chase Hurt led the effort with four points each.
In the third quarter, Lewis nailed a big 3-pointer to go up momentarily. However, Destin came roaring back with a driving layup from Brady Ooten. Hurt followed up with a basket and Romair added a point from the free-throw line for a 21-18 showing.
Lewis scored first in the fourth, but Destin's Ooten swished a 3-pointer to give the Marlins a four-point lead. In the next four minutes, Destin put up seven points for the win.
"We made some adjustments at the half, and I thought we attacked the basket much better the second half," Griffiths said. "The third quarter was big for us. We did a good job of taking care of the basketball … best overall game yet."
Griffiths noted players such as Hurt, Romair, Ooten and Callahan Phillips.
"Chase played well on both ends," Griffiths said, noting an offensive rebound put-back in the final quarter.
As for Phillips, Griffiths said he did a great job all night of guarding a much taller Lewis Falcon.
"And Ryan did a good job on their point guard," he said. "He also created a lot of opportunities for himself. He took matters into his own hands.
"The defense really stepped up on the boards," Griffiths added.
For the game, Destin was led by Romair with 11 points. Hurt hit for 10 and Ooten six.
Tops for Lewis was Stacey Jones with 11 points.
Up next for the Marlins is a 5 p.m. game on Jan. 21 in Niceville against the Ruckel Rams.