Lady Marlins look to win it all

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Marlins have been in the gym this week getting ready for the upcoming season. Pictured (from left) are Jessica Pierce, MJ Toth and Ava Smith. Destin plays Davidson on Monday at 5 p.m. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]

After finishing second in the county tournament for the last two years, the Destin Lady Marlins have their sights on a county title this season.

“Our goal is to win it this year ... that’s our mindset for every practice,” said Destin Middle School girls basketball coach Susie Pierce.

Pryor Middle School has dominated on the courts for the last couple of years with Destin finishing second.

But in order for the Marlins to capture the title, Pierce says it boils down to “handling the ball.”

“Our guards have to handle the ball and get it up the court and eliminate turnovers,” she said.

Handling the ball and playing in that point guard position will be MJ Toth and Anabelle Shackelford, a fifth grader.

Pierce described her team as a “tale of two teams” this season.

“We have six returning players and six brand new players to the game of basketball,” she said. “So our returning players look strong and our new players still have a lot to learn. It’s going to be a nice mix.”

Returning players include Carson Fayard, Anna Kimball, Jessica Pierce, Shackelford, Ava Smith and Toth.

“We are going to try and get the ball inside a lot,” Pierce said.

Plus the Marlins will do some pressure zone defenses and press full court a lot.

“We’re not as deep as usual, so we’ll have to try and stay out of foul trouble,” Pierce said.

Playing inside for the Marlins is Kimball and Smith.

“Anna Kimball dominated for us last year and Ava Smith is much, much improved since last year,” Pierce said.

With Toth and Shackleford swapping in and out at point, shooters will be Fayard and Jessica Pierce.

The Marlins will get a chance to show what they can do on Monday when they play host to the Davidson Panthers of Crestview at 5 p.m.