The Destin Marlins lost 52-27 to a much bigger Meigs Wildcats team Monday evening in middle school boys' basketball action.



"Their size and athleticism just wore us down," said Destin Coach Ron Griffiths.



"Besides being outsized, their press hurt us early on. We turned the ball over way too much in the first half."



The Wildcats outscored Destin 24-7 in first half with Deonte Smith and Jackson Marquis leading the way. In the first quarter, Destin was 100 percent from the free-throw line with Chase Hurt and Callahan Phillips each knocking down two a piece.



In the second, Brady Ooten hit two from the line, while Nick Sherer made one of two.



"We did a good job of knocking down the free throws, but we couldn't find the range on field goals," Griffiths said.



In the third quarter, Destin turned it around and hit for 11 points with Ooten starting the scoring, drilling a 3-pointer at the 5:19 mark. Seconds later, Sherer made an inside shot and Ryan Romair followed up with a foul shot.



Meigs reeled off nine consecutive points, before Romair put a rebound back for two points followed by a free throw for a three-point play. Meigs scored five more points, then Phillips wrapped up the period with a put-back basket. Destin trailed 43-18 at the buzzer.



In the fourth quarter, both teams subbed in players and put up nine points each for a 52-27 finish.



"I though we came out with a lot more energy and determination in the third," Griffiths said. "We played more aggressive and they started to find their shot and rhythm."



But in the end, the Wildcats proved to be too much for the Marlins.



"They are by far the best team we've played all year," said Griffiths.



For the game, Hurt and Romair each scored six points. Ooten hit for five, while Phillips tossed in four.



Smith led Meigs with 10 points, while Marquis hit for nine. Chris McGaughy and Josh Williams each scored eight points.



Up next for the Marlins, 3-4, is a 6:30 p.m. game at home Thursday against the Bruner Spartans.