After falling behind a couple of times in the first half, the Destin Marlins prevailed in the end with a 41-31 finish over the Ruckel Rams in boys middle school basketball action Monday night in Destin.
“These guys played hard,” said Destin Coach Bob Davies of the Rams. “That’s the most aggressive team we’ve played all year.”
The Rams boxed in Maddax Fayard all night, holding him to five points. Just last game, Fayard hit for 19.
But with Fayard getting tripled teamed at times, it opened the door for others to score.
Destin’s Price Bowen came off the bench and put up 10 points.
“Isaac Hancey kept everything calm at point. You cannot make him lose his cool,” Davies said.
Hancey finished the night with 10 points as well.
Top scorer for the Marlins was Asa Newell with 16 points.
Newell started the scoring in the first quarter with an inside shot. Ruckel came back with a basket and a free throw. Destin evened the score with a free throw from Newell.
In the last three minutes, Ruckel went on a nine-point run to go up 12-3. Aiden Campbell started the run with a 3-pointer followed by buckets from Jack Broutin, Caden Bridgeman and De’mon Allen.
Destin’s Hancey finished up the period in the last few seconds with a 3-pointer for a 12-6 game.
At the start of the second quarter, Destin got the advantage back with a run that started with Newell making a free throw, Fayard drove the lane for two points, followed by an inside shot from Bowen. Newell finished up the run with a shot off the glass and a 13-12 lead.
The lead didn’t last long with Ruckel putting up nine points in the last four minutes to Destin’s four. Ruckel led 21-17 at the half.
In the third quarter, Destin went on a scoring spree with Hancey putting up two inside shots and a 3-pointer. Newell scored two inside buckets and Bowen put a rebound back for two points, plus hit two free throws. Destin led 32-26 at the buzzer.
In the fourth quarter, Destin continued to outscore the Rams putting up nine points to their five.
“Our defense was great in the second half with Andrew Atkins and Erik Scott at the bottom of our 1-3-1,” Davies said. “Garret Jacobs gave us some great minutes in the second quarter with assists and rebounds.”
Up next for Destin is a 7 p.m. game Thursday at Davidson in Crestview.