Destin girls overcome first quarter deficit with big finish over Davidson

After a slow start, the Destin Marlins started clicking and hitting their shots to post a 46-38 win over the visiting Davidson Panthers in girls middle school action Monday evening.


At the end of the first quarter, Destin trailed 10-4 after missing seven opportunities from the free-throw line, while Davidson’s CJ Jones nailed two 3s, one from half court.


“We were missing a few shots at the beginning, but then they started falling for Anna (Kimball) and that turned the whole game around for us,” said Destin Coach Susie Pierce.


In the second quarter, Kimball was on fire for the Marlins, tossing six buckets for 12 points. Destin trailed 20-18 at the half.


To start the third quarter, Davidson’s Jazayah Mctear hit a quick layup, but then Destin went to work.


Kimball put a rebound back for two points, then Ava Smith went to the line and hit the second of two tries. Kimball finally put the Marlins on top with a shot from underneath. About a minute later, Jessica Pierce went to the line twice and was good for all four shots giving the Marlins a 27-22 lead.


Davidson hit a basket then Smith hit an inside shot for Destin and Carson Fayard turned a steal into a quick two points. The Panthers made three shots from the line before Destin’s press turned in six straight points. Fayard had a takeaway for two points, Smith a putback shot for two and Jessica Pierce a steal for two. Davidson scored one more basket before the buzzer. Destin led 37-28 at the end of three.


The fourth quarter turned into a free throw shooting contest with fouls left and right. The Panthers outscored Destin 12-9 in the fourth, but the Marlins still walked away with the win.


“Our defense that we turned around to offense (made the difference),” said Susie Pierce. “We’re better if we’re up and down and can get some steals, easy buckets and that builds confidence. Every thing is better with the diamond press.


"Anna was fantastic,“ she added.


Kimball finished the night with 18 points, while Smith tossed in nine. Fayard and Jessica Pierce each scored eight.


"People stepped up and did some things. We had a lot of turnovers, but we also handled the ball well,“ Susie Pierce said. "Jessica hit six of six from the free throw line that was big. It was really - important at the time.


“The kids were pushed out of their comfort zones and they handled it great,” she added.