Lady Marlins fall to Shoal River

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log
The Destin Log

After posting 12 consecutive wins, the Destin Marlins came up short Thursday night in Crestview. The Marlins lost 36-32 to the Shoal River Mustangs in girls middle school basketball action.

“We struggled to score against Shoal River,” said Destin Coach Susie Pierce. “They focused all of their defense on stopping Anna (Kimball). She had two to three girls on her night.

Kimball has hit double digits in most every game for the Marlins this season, however, Thursday the Mustangs held her to nine.

“We made a run in the fourth quarter led by Carson (Fayard) and Jessica (Pierce) but we simply ran out of time. Shoal River gave us many insights on things to work on. So for that, we are grateful,” Pierce said.

Shoal River outscore the Marlins three out of four quarters.

At the end of the first, Shoal was up 14-6. Fayard knocked down two buckets for Destin and Kimball managed to sink one late in the quarter to keep the Marlins in the game, while Shoal River couldn’t seem to miss. Gracie Boydstun swished a 3-pointer and scored a bucket, while Madyson Boydstun hit a basket and three from the free-throw line. Nadia Spicer and Kennedy Baluran each scored two points.

In the second quarter, Destin’s Kimball scored in the first 30 seconds but that would be it for the Marlins. The Mustangs, on the other hand, put up seven points with Gracie Boydstun leading out with four points.

In the third, Shoal continued to dominate putting up eight points to Destin’s six. Gracie Boydstun, who finished the night with 20 points, scored six in the third.

Kimball and Ava Smith each hit a free throw for the Marlins and then in the last minute, Fayard knocked down a couple of long shots to bring Destin’s total for the night to 14. The Mustangs led 29-14.

In the fourth quarter, the Marlins really stepped it up a notch and scored 18 points while holding the Mustangs to only seven.

Jessica Pierce got things rolling for the Marlins with a 3-pointer in the first 30 seconds. Shoal scored, then Destin reeled off eight straight. Fayard and Pierce hit back-to-back jumpers and then Fayard picked up a foul and made both shots from the line. Kimball finished out the run with an inside shot.

Shoal River picked up a foul shot and Gracie Boydstun hit one from underneath. Shoal still led 34-25.

In the last minute, Pierce made one from the paint and then Fayard, who finished with 15 points, swished a 3-pointer to close it down to a four-point game. Kimball scored two points with two seconds left on the clock and then immediately called a timeout.

Shoal River brought the ball in and went for a long pass with Baluran hitting a layup at the buzzer for a 36-32 finish.

Up next for Destin is a 5 p.m. game at home Jan. 23 against the Meigs Wildcats. The middle school tournament begins the week of Jan. 27.