Freeport pulls off one-point victory over rival South Walton

Tina Harbuck

With the score tied at the end of every quarter, it looked as though it might go into overtime, but the Freeport Bulldogs pulled out a 33-32 win in the final seconds over the visiting South Walton Seahawks in boys varsity basketball action Monday afternoon.

“I’m not sure what happened,” said Freeport Coach David Felix. “They were up 27-21 and our boys just kind of dug in and hit some big shots. Lane Free hit a big three right in front of the bench and cut it to one.”

Early in the fourth, the Seahawks had pulled away 27-21 with Cade Rowland and Hayden Stroop hitting back-to-back 3s. Freeport answered with a shot from underneath by Noahh Cole. Seconds later Free nailed a 3-pointer to cut it to a one-point game. About a minute later, Freeport’s Case Woodard drained a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs on top 29-27. Woodard, who finished the afternoon with 15 points, drove the lane for a layup and a 31-27 advantage.

South Walton’s Mason Hall made a 3 to close it down to a one-point game with 3:09 left on the clock.

With both teams moving the ball around and eating the clock, Freeport’s Woodard took it in for a layup to put the ’Dogs up 33-30.

In the final seconds of the game, South Walton’s Tyler Gibbs hit what almost looked like a 3-pointer, but it was not. Freeport got the ball back and the Seahawks fouled Zack Seay to send him to the line with 5 seconds left. Seay missed and South Walton’s Gibbs fired off a long shot, missed, but a foul was called. South Walton inbounded the ball with 1.4 seconds left and Rowland bounced one off the rim as the final buzzer sounded.

“They’ve gotten better and better and they just keep fighting,” said Freeport’s Felix.

“It’s a great group of kids and a great win for us. To beat your rival makes for a fun win,” he said.

Earlier in the season, Freeport lost to South Walton in overtime in Santa Rosa Beach.

“It was a little slow, but it was a fun game,” Felix said.

Top scorer for South Walton was Gibbs with 10 points. Scoring six each were Hall and Rowland.

Cole scored six for Freeport, while Wesley Canaday and Free each scored four.