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Lady Marlins press Ruckel for win

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log
The Destin Log

The Destin Marlins put their foot on the gas pedal and didn’t let up, whipping the Ruckel Rams 45-14 in the Okaloosa County Middle School Girl’s Basketball Tournament semifinals Monday night in Destin.

“That’s was the best we’ve played all year,” said Destin Coach Susie Pierce. “We came out in a man-to-man defense and and I don’t think they were ready for it.

“And my kids were just all over the place taking the ball ... it was intense today.”

The Marlins were able to turn steals into quick shots.

“They played so hard. They didn’t play scared at all,” she said.

In the first quarter, Destin outscored the Rams 9-3. Anna Kimball had a takeaway under the basket for a bucket. Ava Smith hit a free throw and an inside shot. Carson Fayard made a little jumper and Jessica Pierce out an outside shot and finished up the period with a rebound and a shot off the glass.

In the second quarter, Smith put up two back-to-back baskets, one on a takeaway, for a 10-point lead. Ruckel scored a basket and a free throw, then it was all Destin.

Kimball put a rebound back for two, then Smith hit a jumper. Kimball came right back with another shot and Smith followed with another bucket. In the last three minutes, Destin put up 12 points. Kimball put up four, Pierce four, while Fayard and Riley Palmer hit for two points.

Destin led 32-6 at the half.

There was a running clock on the game starting in the third quarter.

At the start of the third, Ruckel picked up two points from the foul line before Destin went on another scoring spree. Destin put up 10 consecutive points. Fayard put up six points, four coming off steals. Anabelle Shackelford hit one from the paint and Pierce scored the other two from the foul line. Ruckel scored one more point from the free-throw line. Destin led 42-9 going in the final stanza.

In the fourth, Ruckel hit a couple of baskets and a free throw, while Destin’s Fayard made a foul shot and Cami Davies scored on an inside shot.

For the game, Fayard and Smith each put up 11 points, while Kimball scored nine and Pierce eight.

With the win, the Marlins advanced to the championship game Tuesday night against the Davidson Panthers. Results were not available at press time.