After taking a 29-18 lead in the first half, the Destin Marlins practically shutdown the Bruner Spartans in the second half allowing only three points.
Destin went on to post a 51-21 over Spartans in middle school girls basketball action.
“They kicked it in tonight,” said Destin Coach Susie Pierce following the road game. “Ava (Smith) had a fantastic first half.”
Smith was getting open on the back side while Bruner was concentrating on Anna Kimball, Pierce explained. In the meantime, Smith was able to put up nine points in the first quarter alone.
“Overall they played so much better. They played harder and our defense was fantastic second half. Our guards handled the ball better. It was a much better day for us,” Pierce said.
“It took a bit to get the confidence back to where it was before the holiday break. I think we’re getting there again,” she added.
In the Marlins first game back after the Christmas break, they struggled and barely pulled out a 3-point win over the Ruckel Rams.
However, against Bruner they were firing on all cylinders with three players hitting double digits. Kimball led the Marlins with 18 points, while Smith checked in with 13 and Jessica Pierce 10.
In the first three-and-a-half minutes Destin jumped out to a 12-0 lead with Smith and Kimball taking it inside. Bruner finally got on the board with Lexi Euli hitting a pair of free throws. Seconds later Euli was fouled again and picked up another point. By the buzzer, Destin led 17-7.
In the second quarter, Destin continued to take the ball inside often with Smith and Kimball picking up baskets. Pierce and Carson Fayard hit a couple of jump shots just outside the paint. Bruner got a surge from Alaya McNabb, who knocked down three 3s and a bucket for their 11 points. At the half, Destin was on top 29-18.
In the third quarter, Bruner got on the board first with an inside shot, but that was pretty much it for the Spartans. Destin’s Pierce put a rebound back for two points and Annabelle Shackelford hit a shot from the top of the key. Kimball finished up the little run with a baseline shot. Bruner scored one last time, picking up a foul shot.
Destin finished up the third quarter with an outside shot from Riley Palmer, a bucket from the paint by Fayard and then Pierce wrapped things up with an out side shot for a 41-21 game.
In the fourth, Kimball scored six points, while Smith and Pierce each added two points.
Up next for the undefeated Lady Marlins is a 6:30 p.m. game, Jan. 16 at Shoal River in Crestview.