A much quicker Bruner Spartan team pummeled the Destin Marlins 53-14 in the Okaloosa County Middle School Girls Basketball Tournament at Bruner Monday evening.
"Last night we struggled against a very aggressive 1-3-1 defense that forced our guards into making bad passes," said Destin Coach Ben Kackley. "With the speed and athleticism Bruner has, they were able to beat us down the floor for quick layups. Unfortunately the offensive adjustments we made were not enough to overcome the defensive pressure and we took a pretty bad loss."
Nevertheless, Kackley added, "I was proud of the girls efforts throughout the game and felt they played with heart."
"I always measure our success on how we start and finish the season. From beginning to end, we definitely improved. At the beginning of the year we were unable to break a press, unable to guard our zones on defense and unable to move within the offense. By the end of the season the girls were able to run multiple looks on both ends of the floor as well as run press and press breaks effectively," Kackley said.
"We were also able to pick up two wins against teams who we have struggled with in the past by beating Pryor and Meigs. Hopefully these wins will jumpstart the program and get more girls interested in basketball around the Destin area.
"I think they all increased their basketball IQ and most importantly had fun this year. In the end, that is all that matters."
As for Monday's game, the Spartans dominated making fast breaks to the basket with Reneasha Payton dumping in 24 points and Tykeria Brown 14.
Destin was led by Auriane Rawls with six points. Brooke Manis added five and Lindsey Mayo nailed a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the game.
In the first quarter, Bruner put eight points on the board before Destin got a shot to fall. Manis got inside for two points for the Marlins at the 4:20 mark. Payton hit a layup, and then Manis answered. In the final second, Aaliyah Davenport put a rebound back for a Spartan 12-4 lead.
Bruner took over in the second quarter, making steals, pulling down rebounds and driving the distance for quick baskets. Bruner put up 17 consecutive points. With five seconds left in the first half, Destin's Rawls scored on an inside shot for a 29-6 mark at the break.
In the third, Bruner outscored the Marlins 9-2.
Not going down quietly, Destin managed to put six points on the board in the fourth. Rawls scored a basket, Manis made a free throw and Mayo nailed a 3-pointer right before the buzzer.
The Marlins finished the season 2-6.