Destin Lady Marlins keep calm to win nail-biter over visiting Shoal River

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

After posting a comfortable 38-16 win over Shoal River last week, the Destin Lady Marlins found themselves fighting to come out on top 33-29 at home Tuesday evening against the Mustangs in middle school basketball. 

“We were down by a lot but they stayed so calm,” said Destin Coach Susie Pierce. 

“And it’s not easy to keep 12- and 13-year-old girls calm, but they did a great job,” she said. 

Destin trailed for most of the game. At the end of the first quarter, they were down 10-4 and then 18-11 at the half. 

Destin's Carson Fayard drives to the basket in the last quarter of play against the Shoal River Mustangs. Fayard scored 20 points in the 33-29 Destin win.

In the third quarter, Destin finally got an edge on the Mustangs. Carson Fayard, who finished the night with 20 points, made a steal for a quick layup. Then Justine Zamorya was fouled and hit the second of two tries. Fayard came back with a jumper from the side before Anabelle Shackelford hit a long shot and seconds later a 3-pointer to give Destin its first lead of the game at 21-18.  

More:Lady Marlins rally in second half for big win over Shoal River

Shoal came roaring back with three buckets and a free throw to lead 25-21 at the buzzer. 

In the fourth, the Mustangs put a rebound back for two points before Destin made another run. Fayard was fouled three times and hit three of six tries, plus put a rebound back in for two points. Shackelford hit a layup and Destin led 28-27 with 1:55 left to play. The Mustangs made a bucket to go up 29-28. 

Destin Coach Susie Pierce looks on intently as her team fights back in the final minutes of play for a 33-29 victory over Shoal River.

In the final minute, Destin kicked it in high gear, with Shackelford dishing off to Fayard for a quick basket. Then seconds later, Fayard passed off to Zamorya, who was underneath for a shot off the glass for two. With 15 seconds left on the clock, Fayard tried to hit a baseline shot but was fouled. She hit the second of two tries for a 33-29 finish.

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"I told them after the game, that they didn’t panic and made the pass on the fast breaks and made the buckets. Very calm, very nice,” Pierce said. 

Destin's Justine Zamorya, right, hit a last second bucket for the Marlins to help put them over the top. Destin beat Shoal River 33-29 in middle school ball.

“Justine (Zamorya) stepped up and hit a big shot, which was awesome,” she added. 

Pierce also applauded the play of Fayard.  

“She kept her cool, which is difficult to do when you are being boxed. But she kept her cool and made some incredible athletic plays at the end of the game.  

“The big thing was, they didn’t panic,” Pierce said.