Young Seahawks falter in final minutes for loss to Baker

Tina Harbuck

With a slight edge going into the fourth quarter, the South Walton Seahawks lost the momenteum in the final four minutes losing 44-38 on the road to district opponent Baker Gators Thursday night in varsity boys basketball action.

“We just started making bad shots and turning the ball over,” said South Walton Coach Stephen Gilbert.

“It’s just the inexperience. But we’re OK. I’m excited about this group … we’ve come a long way,” he said.

The Seahawks are 10-8 overall and 7-2 in the district.

“We’re young,” Gilbert said.

The Seahawks have only one senior while the rest are juniors and sophomores.

“When we get more momenteum and we attack more and are more patient, we’ll be OK.

“Our game plan worked, that’s all that matters. We’ll be ready for them next time.”

On Thursday, Baker got the early advantage with senior Matt Samuolis leading the effort with back-to-back 3s late in the quarter for a 11-6 mark at the buzzer.

In the second quarter, South Walton turned the table on Baker and put up 11 points while holding them to six for a 17-17 tie at the half. South Walton junior point guard drained a pair of 3s to give the Seahawks the lead and then Jonathan Bekkers put one on the backboard for a 17-14 lead. Baker’s Hunter Newton made a 3-pointer in the last minute to tie the game.

In the third quarter, the game was knotted three times before South Walton got the edge on another 3-pointer from Gibbs. The Seahawks led 33-31 going into the final period.

At the start of the fourth quarter, South Walton stretched its’ lead with a couple of free throws from Gabriel Reeves, plus a layup and a free throw from Max White for a 38-31 game. In the last four minutes, the momenteum shifted and Baker took over with Newton hitting an inside shot followed by a 3-pointer to close it down to a two-point game. Baker tied the game on a pair of free throw, then got the lead for good on a putback basket from Kenny Martin. South Walton missed a couple of layups and long shots and Baker finished up with a couple of more trips to the foul line and a 44-38 win.

Gibbs led the Seahawks with 12 points. Tops for Baker were Newton with 21 points, and Austin Walters with 11.