by REID TUCKER
South Walton’ girls’ basketball team came away with an upset win against Walton, capitalizing on slow-to-rev Lady Braves offense to get a 66-33 win at home.
This win marked the third-straight such victory for the Lady Seahawks (7-3 on the season) over Walton (8-4), though the all-time series record between the county rivals leans 14-8 in the Lady Braves’ favor. However, it was all SoWal from the get-go on the night of Tuesday, Dec. 11, as the home team quickly piled on a commanding lead from which Walton could not recover. Looking at it by the numbers, South Walton outshot the Lady Braves 46 percent to 35 percent from the floor despite taking 24 more shots overall.
The Lady Seahawks came out strong, running up an 11-0 lead before Walton finally got on the scoreboard with 43 seconds to go thanks to a Te’Ondria Guice layup, the only Walton points in the period. South Walton replied immediately, stealing the ball twice and scoring twice, with Mackenzie Perot doing most of the Q1 leg-work to give her team a 15-2 lead going into the second quarter.
The Lady Braves’ scored 15 points in the second quarter, in what became their high water-mark for the game, but South Walton scored 17 of its own. Tayler Menard put in a 3-pointer with 6:45 to go make it a 22-2 ballgame, and, though Walton’s Krista McQueen added eight points from the floor, the Lady Seahawks kept a cushion of around 20 points through most of the quarter. Walton’s Deja Tucker sunk a shot from the perimeter to help her team on a 7-3 run in the final minutes before the break but South Walton still led at halftime with a score of 33-17.
Walton’s woes continued in the third quarter, as South Walton shot the lights out – 7-of-9 from the floor to jump to a 51-24 lead by the end of the period. Hailey Paulk got a steal for a layup in what looked to be something of a comeback for the visiting team, but Menard and Katie Logan made sure to nip that in the bud, rattling off a brace of 3s in short order. Logan put in a 2-pointer with 10 seconds to go to keep control of the game firmly in the Seahawks’ grip.
Casey and Mackenzie Perot each scored four points in the fourth quarter, but South Walton more or less spread out its 15 points between nearly every one of its active players. The Seahawks’ defense was tight as well, holding Walton to nine points in the period, with only Tucker and McQueen scoring field goals. South Walton’s strategy changed to keep-away around with 2:00 showing on the clock, which kept running when the score reached the 30-point mercy rule 47 seconds later, and the Seahawks cruised the rest of the way to the final buzzer.
Mackenzie Perot and Menard were South Walton’s high scorers on the night, with 21 and 13 points to their respective names. McQueen led Walton with 15 points and Tucker trailed her by seven.