South Walton Seahawks stick it to Blue Devils

Tina Harbuck

In a physical contest, the South Walton Seahawks prevailed on the road to beat the Holmes County Blue Devils 50-39 in girls varsity basketball action Friday night in Bonifay.

“We needed a very physical game where everything was going against us and they had a great crowd,” said South Walton Coach Kevin Craig.

“They’re a great team … they were 18-3 coming in and they’ve had a running clock the last five or six games. So I was glad we didn’t flinch when things didn’t go our way,” Craig said.

“They got pretty physical with us and we didn’t get many calls,” he said.

“But I was very proud. We had kids come in in the first quarter and give Megan and Savannah some rest, and we still came out of there with the lead. We haven’t done that all season.”

At the end of the first quarter, South Walton was on top 11-9.

“I thought our bench for even just a few minutes did a great job. Aidan Collins and Georgia Johnson did a great job. I thought Haley Seible did a great job.”

After South Walton senior point guard Megan O’Neal had to wrestle with being heavily guarded and Savannah Slade getting pounded inside, coach gave them a break.

Seible came in and knocked down a 3-pointer, while Collins took the ball inside for a basket and a trip to the foul line to give the Seahawks the lead. The Blue Devils evened the score with a layup from Tori Burk with 50 seconds left in the quarter. After the Blue Devils missed at the foul line, South Walton’s Coble put up a layup at the 2 second mark for a 11-9 lead.

In the second quarter, the Seahawks pulled away putting up 18 points to the Blue Devils eight. Slade, who finished with 15 points on the evening, took it inside for a couple of baskets and O’Neal hit a layup to go up 17-12. Holmes County closed it back down with a two baskets. In the next minute, South Walton put up eight unanswered points. O’Neal hit a layup, Slade hit two from the free-throw line and Coble one. Slade finished up the run with a 3-pointer and an 11-point lead.

In the last minute, Holmes made a free throw and South Walton’s Coble and Slade both scored buckets for a 29-17 advantage at the half.

Coble, who also finished with 15 points for the Seahawks, put up eight in just the third quarter alone, giving the Seahawks a 41-27 lead going into the final stanza.

In the fourth quarter, Holmes closed it down to a six-point game before putting the Seahawks on the foul line. O’Neal made one of two, Devany Beard hit an inside shot and then Slade hit two from the line after a technical was called on Holmes County’s Jacklyn Miles.

“I thought we rebounded well and other than getting a little impatient late in the game, we weathered the storm,” Craig said.

“We’ve gone to three hostile courts this year and won. We won at Ponce, we won at Paxton and we won at Holmes County … three of the best 1A teams in the state. That says a lot about us to be able to do that. I was proud of them for keeping their poise.”

The Seahawks will host Liberty County at 6:15 p.m. Thursday with their district tournament starting next week.