The South Walton Lady Seahawks dominated from start to finish as they blasted the Port St. Joe Sharks 54-19 in the championship game of the District 4 1-A Girls Basketball Tournament Saturday night in Santa Rosa Beach.
With the district title under their belt, the Seahawks advance to play in the Regional Semifinals of the Florida High School Athletic Association Girls Class 1A Basketball Championships. The Seahawks will host Cottondale in a 7 p.m. game Feb. 12.
"This is a chance for us to exorcise a demon that's been in our past," said South Walton Coach Kevin Craig. Three years ago, Cottondale beat the Seahawks and knocked them out of a chance of advancing in the state playoffs.
"They had a good team and they took it to us," Craig said. "We were 15-0 in the district that year ... and we didn't go anywhere."
"That's a very motivating factor for those seniors," he said adding that they were freshmen back then.
So far, the Seahawks have accomplished one of their goals this season, which was to win the district in order to be host for the regional playoffs.
"Now we just to need to keep everybody healthy and sharp," Craig said.
And sharp they were Saturday night when they took it to the St. Joe Sharks in the district championship game.
"We came out and played with a lot of passion and intensity," Craig said.
The Seahawks jumped out to a 20-7 lead in the first quarter. They were on top 34-9 at the half with Katie Logan draining a couple of 3-pointers.
"It's hard to keep focus when you are up by 25," Craig said.
But the Seahawks came out the second half and buried the Sharks.
South Walton started slow in the third, but finished up with a 47-16 advantage over St. Joe.
With the running clock in the fourth, South Walton continued to outscore the Sharks, seven to three.
"I thought we finished strong," Craig said.
Top scorer for the Seahawks was Kati Trejo with 14 points. Logan, a former Destin Middle School Marlin, knocked down three 3s on her way to 10 points for the Hawks. Scoring eight points each were Tayler Menard and Morgan Kennedy. Mackenzie Perot scored six points, while Eve Heffron and Casey Perot each scored four points.
South Walton was 11 of 15 from the free-throw line, while St. Joe hit one of two tries.