In a hard fought contest, the Destin Marlins lost 38-32 to the Pryor Pirates in the Okaloosa County Middle School Girls Basketball Championship played at Shoal River in Crestview Thursday night.

“I’m so proud of my group of girls,” said Destin Coach Susie Pierce. “This eighth grade class were fantastic leaders and role models four our next generation of Lady Marlins. We’ll be back.”

Destin jumped out to a 14-9 lead over the Pirates in the first quarter with eighth grader Sam Sherer, who finished the night with 19 points, pumping in nine points.

The second quarter, however, is where the Marlins fell behind.

“(Pryor) made a run in the last two minutes of the first half that sent us to the locker room down nine,” Pierce said. “Izabelle Adams got her third foul, so while she finished the half on the bench, Pryor took advantage and exploded to build the nine-point lead.”

In the third quarter, Destin outscored the Pirates 7 to 5 but it wasn’t enough.

In the fourth, the Marlins put up seven more points while holding Pryor to six.

“We played the fourth quarter with more passion and heart than any team I’ve ever seen,” Pierce said. “We fought for every ball and every point. Pryor’s zone defense was so difficult to penetrate against.

“We couldn’t catch any of their players making defense mistakes. We were making a passionate comeback but the clock ran out of ticks,” she added.

Others scoring for Destin were Adams with six points, Rylee Brown four, Taylor Klosterman two and Kaylin Winter one.

The Marlins finished up the season as runners-up in the county.