Destin Marlins fall to Ruckel Rams

Tina Harbuck

After a close first half, the Destin Marlins fell to the Ruckel Rams 47-26 in middle school boys basketball play Wednesday evening in Niceville.

“We just didn’t come out and compete,” said Destin Coach Brian McDaniel.

“As bad as we played it was a two-point game with about a minute left before the half,” he said.

But then the wheels seem to fall off in the second half.

“They shut down by not getting back and not hustling. We didn’t execute.

“We don’t take if from practice to here … and that’s what’s frustrating.

“But we’ve got some kids that are still playing hard. We’ve just got to come out and compete and tonight was one of those night,” he said.

In the first quarter, Ruckel jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Destin’s Christian Ford hit a basket for the Marlins. Ruckel’s Jordan Johnson hit a jumper, then Destin reeled off six consecutive points in the last minute. Benton Henderson drained a 3-pointer, and Jamison Brundidge made a fast break for a layup. With 8 seconds left on the clock, Kobe Babin was fouled and hit the first of two tries for an 8-6 at the buzzer.

Numerous fouls were called in the second quarter and it turned into a free-throw shooting contest. Ruckel made six of 18 tries, while Destin made only one of nine. By the break, Ruckel was up 18-11.

In the third quarter, Destin scored in the first couple of minutes on a shot from Charles Pearson. At that point, Ruckel reeled off 13 straight points with six players scoring. Destin scored with two seconds left on the clock on a shot from the field by Beck Holahan. Destin trailed 36-15.

In the fourth quarter, both teams scored 11 points. Babin hit a jumper and Brundidge took it inside for the Marlins. Ford nailed an outside shot before Ruckel rallied for nine straight. In the last minute, Will Rutland swished a 3-pointer for Destin followed by a shot off the glass by Pearson.

For the game, Destin was led by Pearson with six points. Brundidge followed with five and Ford four.

Tops for Ruckel was Bryce Larley with 10 points.

Ruckel made 16 of 43 from the foul line, while Destin hit two of 12 tries.

Up next for the Marlins is a 5 p.m. game, Jan. 7 at home against the Shoal River Mustangs.