Destin Marlins fall to nerves, mental errors

Tina Harbuck | 315-4466 | @DestinLogTina |
Destin's Will Rutland makes his way inside against the Pryor Pirates. Rutland scored three points in the loss. TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG

Down by 15 at the end of the first quarter, the Destin Marlins clawed their way back to within six but still came up short in the end.

Destin lost 52-39 on the road to the Pryor Pirates in middle school basketball action Tuesday evening in Fort Walton Beach.

“In the first quarter, the nervousness and just making a lot of mental errors killed us,” said Destin Coach Brent Acker.

In the first quarter, Destin put a couple of points on the board with a basket from Jackson Smith and a free throw from Ian Bilger. But before the Marlins knew it they were down 16-3. Destin’s Brady Bachmann hit a jumper, and Pryor followed with two more baskets for a 20-5 advantage at the buzzer.

In the second quarter, Destin hung in there with the Pirates, each team putting eight points. Smith, Mason Brundidge and Luke Edelman each scored baskets with Bilger and Will Rutland tossing in free throws for the Marlins.

At the half, Destin trailed 28-13

In the third quarter, the Marlins started a slow come back. Luke Bilger swished a couple of 3s and a drove the lane for two points while Smith made one from the paint for Destin.

In the fourth, the Marlins continued the surge with Bachmann sinking a basket, Ian Bilger a free throw and then a 3-pointer from Blake Forester. Destin still trailed 36-29. Pryor made a bucket, and then Smith made a couple of free throws. Pryor’s R.B. Isaiah was fouled and hit both shots. Jackson answered with an inside shot and Pryor picked up another foul shot. With just under 3 minutes to go in the game, Destin’s Rutland went to the foul line and hit both shots to close it down to a six-point game.

At that point, the Pirates’ Isaiah swished a 3-pointer followed by a layup from Quion Purnell. Seconds later Zykyth Norton hit a shot for Pryor and a 48-35 lead. In the final seconds, Destin picked up a couple of free throws and an inside shot from Ian Bilger while Pryor knocked down a couple of quick baskets.

“We started hustling a little bit more and putting more pressure on them,” Acker said of the second half.

But it was too little, too late.

“We’re going to continue to work hard and try to get better,” he said.

Up next for Destin is a 5 p.m. game Tuesday at Davidson in Crestview.