Destin Marlins fall in the fourth to Ruckel

Tina Harbuck | 315-4466 | @DestinLogTina |

After leading for most of the game, the Destin Marlins came up short in the end taking a 38-31 loss to the Ruckel Rams of Niceville in boys middle school basketball action Thursday night.

“We lack consistency,” said Destin Coach Brent Acker. “We’ve got to play 28 minutes. All four quarters have got to have the same intensity.”

And the consistency for the Marlins wasn't there on Thursday.

In the first quarter, Destin came out and took it to the Rams, outscoring them 13-4 with Will Rutland leading the way with six points. Luke Bilger swished a 3-pointer down the stretch and Jackson Smith and Ian Bilger each put two points on the glass.

To start the second quarter, Destin scored first on a putback basket by Brady Bachmann. Then the Ruckel Rams went to work and reeled off 12 unanswered points to go up 16-15. In the last two minutes, Destin clawed their way back into the game with Ian Bilger driving to the basket a couple of times for four points, and Rutland made one from the top of the key for a 21-19 Marlin lead at the half.

In the third quarter, the scoring went back and forth with Destin again getting the edge at the end with Max Moran hitting two baskets back-to-back for a 31-27 game.

However, the fourth quarter was all Ruckel. The Rams turned steals in to layups to go up 36-31. Destin finally got on the board with a couple of free throws from Smith. Ruckel wrapped it up with two points from the foul line for a 38-33 win.

Scoring in double-digits for Destin was Rutland with 12 points. Ian Bilger scored six, while Smith, Moran and Bachmann each scored four.

Up next for Destin is a 5 p.m. game Thursday at home against the Bruner Spartans.