Destin rallies for win over Wildcats

Tina Harbuck
Destin's Tobias Thompson makes a break for a layup against the Meigs Wildcats in the first half of play. Thompson scored 24 points in the 46-37 middle school victory. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]

After leading at the half, the Destin Marlins found themselves having to claw their way back in the fourth to post a 46-37 victory over the Meigs Wildcats in middle school boys basketball action Thursday night in Shalimar.

“We had no patience at all when we got the basketball. The defense was great, but I think we averaged a half-a-pass per shot and that will not win you ball games. And it almost got us tonight,” said Destin Coach Bob Davies.

But in the end, Davies said the biggest difference for his Marlins was their conditioning.

“They can go as hard the fourth quarter as they do in the first. In the fourth quarter, they still have a 100 percent in the tank,” he said.

In the first quarter, Destin stepped out to a 9-2 lead in the first four minutes with Tobias Thompson cashing in on a couple of steals for quick layups and Carston Phillips hitting a couple of free throws and putting a rebound back for two points. Daniil Baturyn hit a long shot up the middle to give Destin the advantage. In the last three minutes, Meigs scored four and Destin’s Allen Collins hit a free throw and Thompson, who finished the night with 24 points, drilled a 3-pointer for a 13-6 game.

In the second quarter, Thompson started the scoring with his second 3-pointer of the game from the left corner. Meigs answered with James Mitchell putting up four points from inside. Thompson came back with another 3-pointer. In the last two minutes, Baturyn hit a layup and Thompson cashed in a steal for a layup. Meigs’ Mitchell put up a bucket and Jacob Shepard swished a 3-pointer. Destin led 23-17 at the half.

At the start of the third, Meigs came out and tied the game with Elijah Evans, Donovan Jefferson and Mitchell hitting back-to-back baskets. Twenty seconds later, Destin’s Baturyn drove the ball inside to put Destin back on top. However it didn’t last long with AJ Minott making an inside shot to tie the game at 25-25. Destin’s Phillips scored and then Meigs took their first and only lead of the game. Jefferson hit a free throw and Mitchell put them on top 28-27 with an inside shot.

In the last minute, Destin got the advantage back with Fayard and Thompson hitting back-to-back baskets. Mitchell kept it close with a fast-break layup in the final seconds. Destin led 31-30 at the buzzer.

About midway of the fourth quarter, Destin took charge of the game reeling off nine-unanswered points in about a minute. Thompson scored six of the nine points in the run that put Destin on top 42-31.

In the last two minutes, Meigs scored six and Destin’s Fayard knocked down a 3-pointer and Thompson a free throw.

“I thought the first five minutes of the game we looked sharp, like we hadn’t been on a break … and then we went to sleep,” Davies said.

But the Marlins conditioning paid off in the end for the win.

Up next for Destin is a 5 p.m. game Tuesday at Pryor Middle School in Fort Walton Beach.