Destin Marlins step up to take down the Meigs Wildcats

Destin's Deonte Sheffield takes the ball to the hoop in the first half of play against the Meigs Wildcats. Sheffield led the Marlins with 27 points.

In a fast paced game, the Destin Marlins knocked down the shots in the second half to post a 56-48 win over the Meigs Wildcats Thursday night in middle school basketball action.

"We worked our way back," said Destin Coach Ron Griffiths. "We gained a bit of momentum at the end of the first quarter and went to a man defense. I was proud of the way they matched up."

To start, Destin got on the board first with Deonte Sheffield knocking down a 3-pointer. Meigs hit a free throw, then Sheffield  came back with a couple of baskets for a 7-1 lead. Meigs' Bryson Mitchem hit a layup, then Jason Shirley hit a free throw for Destin. In the next minute, Meigs put up eight unanswered points to go up 11-8. Destin got back in it with Sheffield sinking a basket and a free throw for a tie game. Meigs broke the deadlock in the last 30 seconds on a putback shot from Mitchem.

Meigs continued to take it to the Marlins increasing its lead to 21-11. Destin finally got things rolling late in the second quarter when Kyle Ferris took it inside for two points. Seconds later Sheffield was driving through the lane for two points. Shirley was fouled and hit the second of two tries for a 21-16 game. Meigs scored on a jumper, then Destin came back with seven points to tie the game at 23-23 at the half. Jack Bruner swished a 3-pointer, Ferris hit an inside shot and then Sheffield wrapped it up with a layup.

In the third quarter, Meigs scored early, but then Destin put up seven unanswered points for a 30-26 advantage. Meigs knocked down a 3-pointer, followed by a free throw and basket to gain the lead again at 32-20.

However, the last minute-and-a-half of the third belonged to the Marlins. Sheffield took the ball inside, drawing a foul. He hit the first of two, then put the second back for a basket. On the putback he was fouled again and turned it in for a point. Destin's Matthew Boswell drained a 3-pointer to give the Marlins a 37-32 lead at the end of the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the scoring went back and forth with Destin taking the ball inside. Shoumaker had a steal for a quick layup, then Shirley hit one from underneath. Seconds later, Shirley dished off to Shoumaker for a shot off the glass and a 41-34 lead. Meigs scored four points, then Shoumaker nailed a 3-pointer to give the Marlins a 44-37 advantage. Each team put up two more baskets before it turned into a free throw shootout. With 1:25 left on the clock, Destin went to the foul line five times hitting six of 10 tries, while Meigs went to the line four times, making three of eight.

"I was proud of the way we kept our composure in the first half and worked our way back. And we looked to attack the basket in the last quarter. Plus we had some clutch 3s," he said, noting Shoumaker's in the fourth.

"I'm just proud of the way everybody stepped up," Griffiths said.

For the game, Destin was led by Sheffield with 27 points. Shoumaker scored nine and Shirley eight.

Meigs was led by Mitchem with 17 points.

Up next for Destin, 5-2, is a 5 p.m. game Monday at home against St. Mary's.