After leading by as much as 18 points, it came down to a three-point game in the final minute and the Destin Marlins held on for a 52-47 win over the visiting Davidson Panthers in boys middle school basketball action Tuesday evening in Destin.

“The coach tried to mess that up, but the team wouldn’t let him,” said Destin Coach Bob Davies of him self after the final buzzer sounded and the Marlins could breath a sigh of relief.

With just under three minutes left to play, Destin was sitting on a 48-30 lead when the Panthers went to work. Obian Howard, who finished the night with 30 points, nailed a three-pointer and then came back with another bucket. Dejhon Parks scored then Panthers got help from a Marlin for a 48-39 game. In the next few seconds, Parks scored on a free throw and Howard hit a layup on a fast break to close it down to a six-point game.

Destin’s Maddax Fayard drew a foul and went to the line and hit both shots for a 50-42 lead.

However, the Panthers weren’t giving up.

Howard swished a three-pointer and then Jayden Sheppard made a steal for a layup for a 50-47 game with 21 second left in the game.

Destin’s Tobias Thompson was fouled and hit both shots to give the Marlins the 52-47 victory.

“We didn’t have the effort and intensity that we did last week,” Davies said. “But overall we’re happy with it.”

It was the Marlins' second win in two games.

In the first quarter, Destin stepped out a 14-12 lead with Thompson leading the way with seven points.

Early in the second quarter, Davidson came out and took a slight lead with Howard making a three-pointer, followed up by a bucket from Peyton Knight. But that’s all the Marlins would allow. Destin came back with 13 unanswered points with Thompson leading the way with eight points. Allen Collins scored two and Zander Davis came off the bench and nailed a three-pointer. Destin led 27-17 at the half.

In the third quarter, Destin continued to bury the Panthers scoring 11 points to there five.

In the fourth, it looked as though the Marlins had the game in hand with a 48-30 lead with 2:30 left to play. The Panthers scratched back into the game, but Destin held them off for the win.

“After we almost blew such a big lead they could have given up and could have sulked, but they didn’t,” Davies said.

Davies went on to praise the play of Asa Newell, who stepped up and hit seven of 10 free throws in the second half.

He also had good words for the visiting Panthers.

“Hats off to Davidson, because they never gave up.”

For the game, Thompson led the Marlins with 21 points. Fayard hit for eight and Newell seven.

Up next for the 2-0 Destin Marlins is a 5:30 p.m. game Nov. 13 at Shoal River in Crestview.