South Walton Seahawks send Jay Royals packing

Tina Harbuck | 315-4466 | @DestinLogTina |
Gabriel Reeves moves the ball inside for the South Walton Seahawks. Reeves scored seven points in the win over the visiting Jay Royals. TINA HARBUCK/THE SUN

Tyler Gibbs tossed in 17 points to lead the South Walton Seahawks in a 57-46 win over the visiting Jay Royals in varsity boys' basketball Tuesday night. With the win the Seahawks moved to 5-3 on the season.

“We actually hit shots tonight and we actually decided to play defense,” said South Walton Coach Deon Kennedy as he walked off the court.

“I have a great group of kids this year … and they are determined to play. And if we continue to play defense we can win,” he said.

Gibbs led the attack for the Seahawks — firing up the net in the first quarter for 11 points, including a 3-pointer. At the end of the first period South Walton was on top 21-11.

In the second quarter, the Seahawks continued to dominate on the court by taking a 28-11 lead early on a 3-pointer from Dylan Herbert and a couple of inside shots from Gabriel Reeves and Jeremiah Crittendon. The Royals hit a shot, and then Ben Belfanz knocked down one from the top of the key for the Seahawks for a 30-13 game. South Walton took their biggest lead of the game when Matthew Spence hit a free throw followed by a 3-pointer from Flint Bekkers for a 19-point advantage. In the last two minutes, Jay closed it down with three straight baskets. South Walton’s Mason Hall dropped in a bucket at the buzzer for a 36-21 game at the half.

In the third, Jay played catch-up with Joseph Cook hitting the outside shot and Justice Brewton knocking them down from the free-throw line to put nine points on the board. The Seahawks came soaring back with Gibbs nailing a jumper followed by a 3-pointer and a free throw to stay on top 44-30. Cook hit a basket and then came back with a trey for a nine-point game. In the last two minutes, South Walton was five-for-five from the free-throw line and Matthew Spence slammed one in to go up 51-35. Jay’s Cook made two free throws in the last few seconds for a 51-37 finish.

In the fourth, Jay outscored the Seahawks 9-6.

For the game, South Walton made nine of 11 tries from the free-throw line, while Jay hit 11 of 15.

Top scorers for the Seahawks were Gibbs with 17, Flint and Spence each with eight, and Reeves with seven.

Scoring in double digits for Jay was Brewton with 21 and Cook with 12.

Up next for South Walton is a 5:30 p.m. game tonight at Paxton.