After a sluggish first half, the Destin Marlins came on strong in the second to post a 38-12 win over the Ruckel Rams in middle school girl’s basketball action Thursday night in Niceville.

“We played much more aggressively in the second half and pounded the ball inside,” said Destin Coach Susie Pierce. “It was a great team win.”

And even though it was a team victory, Kaylin Winter led the Marlins with a career high of 13 points.

“She hit the boards like a beast,” Pierce said.

Other Marlins hitting double digits were Samantha Sherer and Taylor Klosterman each with 10 points.

The Marlins, who finished as the No. 2 seed in the county, will advance to the Okaloosa County Middle School Tournament set to tip off next week. The first round will be played at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Destin will host No. 3 seed Bruner Middle School.

In Thursday’s victory, it was a slow go for both teams in the first quarter. Destin’s Rylee Brown scored the only two points for the period from the free-throw line in the last three minutes.

In the second quarter, Destin picked it up a bit putting up 10 points to Ruckel’s six. Brown started the scoring again with two from the foul line. Sherer missed on a free throw, but put the rebound back up for two points. Klosterman followed up with a long shot for an 8-0 lead. Ruckel finally got on the board with 4:12 left in the first half on a shot from Kaleigh Hass. Lindsay Gump scored a couple of free throws for the Rams, and then Sherer worked her way inside for a Marlin basket. Ruckel scored from the outside and then Klosterman answered with a long shot for a 12-6 game at the half.

Destin looked like a different ball club when they came out the second half, putting up 17 points in the third period alone. After a free throw from Winter and a layup by Ruckel’s Grei Langston, the Marlins went on a 16-point scoring spree. Sherer started the run with a takeaway for a layup. Winter put a rebound back for two points and then Klosterman hit a jumper. Sherer made a jump shot and then Klosterman hit two shots back-to-back. Winter, pounding the boards, put a rebound back for two points, and then Sherer finished up the third with a jumper.

In the final stanza, Destin outscored Ruckel 9-4 with Winter picking up eight of the nine points.