The Destin Marlins jumped out to a big lead and then held on for a 45-20 victory over the Meigs Wildcats in middle school girl’s basketball action in Shalimar Thursday night.

“It was a good team effort, they played so hard today,” said Destin Coach Susie Pierce.

Earlier in the week the girls had some “flat” practices. To push the girls to play hard on Thursday, Pierce had them wear their knee pads so they wouldn’t hesitate to dive after loose balls.

“They weren’t happy about it, but they got on the floor very well today,” she said.

And the hustle paid off. Seven Marlins put points on the board with Samantha Sherer leading the way with 13 points. Taylor Klosterman tossed in 11, while Kaylin Winter, Izabelle Adams, Jessica Pierce and Elaina Perkins each scored four. Rylee Brown hit for three points.

“This was Taylor’s best game all around that she’s had all season,” Coach Pierce said.

Although Sherer didn’t knock down her usual 20-plus points, she still led on the floor.

“Sam did a lot of distributing around today so her points were down … but some of her passes were amazing,” coach said. “When the others realized she was going to pass it ahead, they booked it on down the court.”

Destin didn’t waste any time getting things rolling, putting up 13 consecutive points in the first three minutes. Adams, Sherer, Brown and Pierce contributed to the run. Meigs finally got on the board at the 3:06 mark with Arianna Southall scoring. Destin’s Klosterman put up a basket, then Meigs hit a foul shot and a Sage Keebaugh nailed a 3-pointer. The Marlins finished up the first quarter with a layup from Sherer followed up by an inside shot from Perkins for a 19-6 lead.

At the start of the second quarter, Sherer passed off to Pierce for a quick basket inside for a 15-point advantage. The scoring went back and forth with Sherer finishing up the period with a couple of take-a ways for quick layups and a 29-14 lead at the half.

To start the second half, a Meigs’ Wildcat mistakenly put up a basket on the Destin end, then Sherer passed off to Winter for an inside shot and a 33-14 lead. Meigs’ Eboney McNabb scored one from the paint, before Destin’s Klosterman drilled a long shot and a layup. Sherer and Klosterman both hit a couple of free throws and McNabb hit one basket for the Wildcats. Klosterman finished the third for Destin with another long shot and a 41-18 ball game.

In the fourth quarter, Destin’s Pierce and Perkins scored while Meigs only scored one bucket.

Up next for Destin is a 6:30 p.m. game Tuesday at Ruckel Middle School in Niceville.