South Walton Seahawks hold on for win over Holmes County
With four players in double figures the South Walton Seahawks held on for a 77-70 win over the visiting Holmes County Blue Devils Thursday night at the Hawks Nest.
Paxton Dixon scored 20 points, Josh McGrath hit for 19, Grant Burden tossed in 16 and Stephen Stroop had 10 points for the Seahawks.
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“What a balanced effort. That’s the best team effort of the season,” said South Walton Coach John Davies.
“Grant played a great game and Josh continues to improve.”
Davies also mentioned the hard play from Dixon, Stroop and Isaac Nielson.
“Jerimiah Crittendon gave us some good minutes off the bench. He’s tough on the boards,” Davies said.
In the first quarter of play, the score went back and forth with both teams hitting the long shot. Stroop and Dixon both drained 3s for Hawks, while Cason Moore made two for Holmes and Elijah Thompson one. With the game tied at 13-13, South Walton’s McGrath and Burden hit back-to-back inside shots for a 17-13 lead. Holmes made one more bucket then Dixon nailed a 3 for a 20-15 lead at the buzzer.
In the second quarter, South Walton made a little eight-point run in the last three minutes with Dixon, Stroop and McGrath contributing. The Seahawks led 36-25 at the half.
In the third quarter, South Walton stretched its lead to 17 early on with Burden hitting a basket, followed by two free throws each from Dixon and McGrath. McGrath finished up the run with a putback basket and the Hawks led 46-29. In the last two minutes of the period, the Blue Devils made a little run of their own to close the gap at 56-46.
Holmes County continued to close the gap in the fourth and came within one point of catching the Seahawks, however South Walton came back with McGrath putting a rebound back for two points followed by a couple of free throws seconds later.
Holmes County worked the baseline for two points, then McGrath was fouled again and hit both tries from the line. Burden and McGrath each scored for the Hawks to up the lead to 72-63. In the final minute, South Walton hit five of six tries from the line while Holmes’ Joseph Young hit a baseline shot and Thomas Parish sank a 3-pointer.
For the game, South Walton was 27 of 34 from the free-throw line, while the Holmes County hit nine of 11.
Up next for the Seahawks is a 7:15 p.m. game Jan. 20 at home against the Baker Gators.