In a county rivalry matchup where the lead swapped hands seven times in the second half, the Walton County Braves sank a buzzer beater for a 69-67 win over the South Walton Seahawks in varsity basketball action Monday night in Santa Rosa Beach.
"It was a heck of a game," said South Walton Coach John Davies. "There were very few mistakes on either side. Both teams played really well. They (Walton) just hit a lot of 3s."
The Walton County Braves sank nine 3-pointers, of which six fell in the first half.
The Braves led 22-17 at the end of the first quarter.
South Walton closed it down to a one-point game early in the second with Gene Hasse sinking two from the free-throw line followed by a putback shot by Wyatt Kemper. The Braves went on the warpath and hit three 3-pointers in a row. Shaquarias Huffman nailed two and Deshun Tucker one for a 31-21 lead. The Seahawks answered with Nick Fogg hitting an inside shot then following up with a 3-pointer.
The scoring went back and forth in the last three minutes. Darien Moore hit a 3-pointer for the Seahawks and then Walton's Tucker answered with a trey. Moore came right back with a 3-pointer up the middle. Elisha Gundrum followed up with an inside shot and a foul shot but still trailed 42-37. Walton's Tucker scored one last time before the Seahawks Vinnie Ciurleo dished off to Kemper for an inside basket followed by two free throws from Gene Hasse. Walton led 44-41 at the half.
South Walton took the lead in the first 30 seconds of the second half with Kemper and Hasse putting rebounds back for points. Walton came right back with a 3-pointer from Alex Campbell and a bucket by Huffman.
The Seahawks got the advantage back on a free throw and a putback basket by Gundrum followed by a quick layup by Moore. By the buzzer, however, Walton had taken a slight 55-54 lead.
To start the fourth, South Walton again took the early lead and held it until the last minute-and-a-half. After Walton scored, South Walton's Gundrum scored with Kemper sinking a free throw and Hasse making two inside shots for a 61-57 game. Walton cut it with a 3-pointer by Tucker. The Seahawks kept the upper hand until Walton tied the score on a 3-pointer by Tucker with 57 seconds left in the game.
The Seahawks missed on their end and Walton went down with Lazavier Caldwell firing off a 3-pointer that missed, but Huffman was there to put it back and beat the buzzer.
For the game, South Walton had four players in double digits. Moore and Hasse each scored 14 points, while Kemper scored 11 and Gundrum 10.
Tops for Walton was Tucker with 24 points, including four 3-pointers. Huffman tossed in 14 points.
Up next for South Walton is a 5 p.m. game Thursday at Emerald Coast Middle School against the Arnold Marlins of Panama City Beach.