In their first game since Christmas break, the Destin Marlins chomped the Baker Gators 45-16 in boys middle school basketball action Thursday in Baker.

"It kind of feels like you're starting all over in some respects," said Destin Coach Ron Griffiths. Middle school teams have an 18-day break in the middle of their season. And last Thursday they hit the court after only being back on the practice court for three days.

But the Marlins were able to secure a big win.

"We had an opportunity for guys to play a lot of minutes," Griffiths said, noting he didn't stick with the same five players throughout.

Destin dominated Baker stepping out to a 23-2 lead in the first half. Destin put up nine more points in the third and 13 in the fourth.

"We had balanced scoring throughout ... that's what I was proud of," Griffiths said.

Not only did the Marlins put points on the board in every quarter, but they had 10 players get in the score column.

Deonte Sheffield led the Marlins with 10 points. Scoring six points each were Skyler Shoumaker, Jason Shirley and Justin Winter.

On defense "our big guys controlled the boards," Griffiths said. "We limited them to one shot. It was a good team win and it kept us going in the right direction."

With the win, the Marlins move to 3-1 on the season.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Marlins will host the Shoal River Mustangs.

Lady Marlins knock off Gators

The Destin Marlins pressed the Baker Gators for a 29-5 win in girls middle school basketball action Thursday in Baker.

"We find success when the girls are able to pressure the ball handler and create turnovers," said Destin Coach Ben Kackley. "Our guards forced them to rush their game and make mistakes ... we were able to capitalize on those errors."

At the half, Destin was sitting on a 16-3 lead.

Kennedi Laughlin led the Lady Marlins with nine points. Sydney Rodgers hit for eight points, while Mollie Seeling, Brooke Manis and Cara Phillips each scored four points.

Up next for the Lady Marlins is a 5 p.m. game Thursday at home.