Destin Marlins struggle, fall to Bruner Spartans

Tina Harbuck

They played hard right up until the end, but the Destin Marlins fell short 49-42 to the visiting Bruner Spartans in boys middle school basketball action Thursday evening in Destin.

“We struggled with the pressure a little bit. And we turned the ball over way to much,” said Destin Coach Brian McDaniel.

“We’ve just got to get better and stronger with the ball,” he added.

In the first quarter, Destin took its only lead of the game at the 1:27 mark with Jackson Smith hitting a baseline shot to go up 6-5. In the last minute, Bruner’s Calvin Payton, who finished with 32 points on the night, knocked down a 3-pointer and long shot for a 10-6 lead at the buzzer.

In the second quarter, Payton continued to lead the Spartans putting up three baskets and making four free throws. Destin’s point guard Jamison Brundidge drove the ball inside for three baskets and a free thow. Kobe Babin took the ball inside for four points and Christian Ford picked up a bucket. Destin still trailed 24-19 at the half.

The Marlins closed it down to a two-point game a couple of times in the third on shots from Babin, who finished up with 18 points for the game. But the Spartans, sparked by Payton pulled away again 38-27. By the end of the seven-minute quarter, Destin had gained a little ground with Jackson hitting a baseline shot and Babin another free throw for a 39-30 score going into the final stanza.

In the fourth, Destin outscored the Spartans 12-10. Also both teams had several opportunities from the foul line. Babin was seven of eight from the line for the Marlins, while his teammates didn’t fair as well only making one of eight tries. The Spartans had 10 tries from the line and made four.

“We had a lot of kids that played super duper hard and played a lot of minutes out there,” McDaniel said.

“And they played hard right down to the last minute. And all I can ask is that they play hard like that. That was a tough game,” he said.

Up next for Destin is a 5 p.m. game Tuesday at home against the Lewis Falcoms.