By PATRICK CASEY
The Walton Braves boys basketball team parlayed their home-court advantage to a 62-53 victory over the South Walton Seahawks on Dec. 11 to improve to 7-1 on the year.
Freshman Nitro Gee scored 22 points and senior DeShun Tucker added 15 as the Braves rallied from a 14-13 deficit after one quarter of play to pick up their 18th win of the series in 19 total games against the Seahawks.
South Walton got 21 points from Paxton Dixon as his outside shooting, coupled with 17 points form teammate Wyatt Kemper, kept the visiting team within striking distance until the last three minutes of the contest.
The Braves hit just enough free throws down the stretch (13-of-26) to keep the Seahawks from closing the gap while canning 27-of-59 shots from the field. Senior Ken Randolph added 16 points of his own as 10 different Walton players put points on the scoreboard.
South Walton got 11 points from guard Darien Moore but 23 turnovers kept the Seahawks from picking up a victory as they fell to 4-3 overall after that contest.
While Walton was not scheduled to play again until a key district contest at home with Pensacola Catholic on Dec. 21, South Walton rebounded to earn a 56-50 win at Blountstown, then returned home to pummel Franklin County 79-34 to improve to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in District 4 of Class A.
Team Notes: Brad West is in his third season as the Walton boys head coach and holds a record of 28-31 in that time. John Davies is in his sixth year at South Walton and holds a record of 63-82 in that span. The Walton junior varsity earned a 53-23 victory over the Seahawks. South Walton will wrap up the first half of their season with a game on Dec. 20 at Panama City Arnold, then travel to Tallahassee to take part in a tournament at Maclay from Jan. 3-5. Walton is scheduled to play in the 18th Annual Hilton Sandestin Beach Basketball Blowout in Freeport from Dec. 27-31.