By PATRICK CASEY
Edward Howard scored 26 points and the Braves canned 15 shots from behind the three-point line as the Braves posted an 85-73 victory over their county rival.
Walton was able to overcome 31 turnovers on the night by hitting 31-of-75 shots from the floor as they turned a 35-32 halftime lead into a 64-50 advantage after three quarters of play. Walton drilled seven shots from long distance in the third quarter as six different Braves players contributed in the barrage.
Freeport stayed close but could not close the gap over the final eight minutes of play as the Bulldogs hit only 29-of-82 shots from the floor. Dalton Morrison led the way for the host squad with 19 points while teammates Michael Graziani added 17 points and Collin Myrick 15 points.
The Braves had 13 different players score in the contest while all seven of Freeport’s varsity players put points on the board for coach David Burke.
Walton held a 15-11 lead after one quarter of play as Howard scored eight points in the opening period. Howard added five more points in the second quarter before putting up nine points in the third. Howard added four more points in the fourth quarter for his total of 26 points.
Walton’s DeShun Tucker was the only other Braves player in double figures with 15 points as the up-tempo style of the game worked to the visiting team’s advantage due to the Braves shooting a higher percentage from the floor.
Freeport could have won the game if not for the poor shooting. The Bulldogs had 22 turnovers of their own and hit only 8-of-20 from the charity stripe on the night to further limit their comeback efforts.
Walton improved to 4-3 with the win under coach Brad West. On Friday night, Walton lost their first district game of the year as Marianna recorded a 70-49 home victory over the Braves to drop Walton to 4-4 on the year.
Game Notes: Walton is 17-10 versus Freeport since the 1988-89 season with the Braves riding a four-game winning streak against the Bulldogs. The two teams will rematch in DeFuniak Springs on Feb. 1. The Walton boys are 13-28 against Marianna since the 1988-89 season with the Bulldogs winning the last 11 games in the series. Walton will host Marianna on Jan. 18.