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Destin Marlin boys drop close game to Davidson Panthers in middle school basketball

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

In a game that went down to the wire, the Destin Marlins fell 34-32 to the visiting Davidson Panthers in boys middle school basketball action Tuesday evening.

"It was exciting" said Destin Coach Bob Davies.

"We had too many breakdowns on defense, and that's what led to all those fouls," he said.

In the second quarter alone, the Marlins put the Panthers on the foul line nine times, with the Panthers making nine of 17 free throws.

"We weren't doing what we were supposed to do," Davies said. 

"They were getting the ball under the goal and we're fouling them and getting players in foul trouble," he added.

Destin's Jordan Figueroa looks to bring the ball down the floor against the Davidson Panthers. Destin lost 34-32.

But despite the breakdowns in defense, Davies was proud of his team's effort.

"I was proud of them at the end. They didn't give up, they just kept bringing it. They play hard, I can't deny them that," he said.

"We've just got to regroup and figure out how to come back and win a game," Davies added.

More:Lady Marlins get running clock victory over Davidson Panthers

The Marlins got off to a slow start by giving up five points to the Panthers. Destin finally got on the board on a free throw from Will Blanchard. About a minute later, Baylen Knox knocked down his first of six 3-pointers for the Marlins. Davidson scored one more point from the free-throw line and then Destin got its first lead of the game on back-to-back 3s from Jordan Figueroa and Knox for a 10-6 advantage at the end of one.

Destin's Baylen Knox fires off a 3-point shot for the Marlins. Knox nailed six 3s in the 34-32 loss to the Davidson Panthers.

The lead didn't last, as the Marlins continued to put the Panthers on the free-throw line in the second period. Carson Kolmetz, Brayden Powell and Jace Green contributed from the foul line with Xavier Hill finished up the run with a 3 pointer and 13-10 lead for the Panthers.

Destin's Kevin Robertson scored, but then they sent the Panthers back to the line with foul after foul. Green knocked down five from the line and put a rebound back for two points. Destin finished up the period with Knox swishing a 3-pointer. Davidson led 20-15 at the half.

More:Jan. 2020 - Destin Marlins fall in boy’s title game

More:Oct. 2019 - Destin Marlins build on good foundation

In the third quarter Destin eventually regained the lead, with Knox drilling two 3s down the stretch for a 24-23 lead. In the last minute, Powell hit an inside shot for a 25-24 advantage for the Panthers.

Destin's Jordan Figueroa tries to block out Jace Green of Davidson. Davidson won the middle school game 34-32.

In the final quarter, Destin got the jump again with Blanchard scoring inside. Davidson came back with a 3-pointer from AJ Chilton to go up 28-26. In the next five minutes, Davidson stayed just a step ahead of Destin. Destin scored a free throw, then Davidson put up two baskets for a 32-27 game.

Destin's Figueroa drove the ball inside for a bucket and then Davidson's Kolmetz did the same. Figueroa got the Marlins within two points with a 3-pointer. In the last few seconds, Destin missed a couple of shots and Davidson took the win.

Destin's Will Blanchard goes up for a shot inside against the Davidson Panthers.

Top scorer for the Marlins was Knox with 18 points. Figueroa scored nine and pulled down 11 rebounds. Blanchard had eight rebounds.

Davidson was led by Green with 11 points and Kolmetz with seven.

Up next for the Marlins is a 5 p.m. game on Monday, Jan. 11, at Ruckel Middle School in Niceville.