By PATRICK CASEY
The Walton Lady Braves defeated Pensacola Catholic 69-58 in a District 1, Class 3A contest last week that brought an end to the Crusaders 25-game win streak over the Lady Braves. Catholic, which hadn’t lost to Walton since the 1996 district tournament championship game that was held at Northwest Florida State College (then OWCC), could not match Walton’s firepower as Jasmine Moore scored 19 points and Tori Lincoln added 11.
Walton built a 30-19 halftime lead as Betsy Stevenson added points from the free-throw line while Casey Perkins contributed four of her five points in the first period of play.
The Crusaders were led by Molly Walters 23 points and she nearly single-handedly kept the visiting team in the game. The two squads got the offense going in the second half as each team scored 39 points after combining for only 29 points in the first half of play. The Crusaders struggled to shoot the ball and hit on only 8-of-41 shots in the first half.
Walton struggled in the rebounding department, but got just enough to keep the Crusaders from pulling off a second half rally. Shannon Currie had five points in the second half to help Walton keep pace while Lee Paulk added nine points and Betsy Stevenson 13, seven of which came in the second half.
Pensacola Catholic missed 55 shots during the game as they fell to 0-5 on the year while Walton improved to 2-2 overall.
The game was of tremendous importance for Walton as the Braves needed to break the streak, as well as record a district win. The Braves had lost on Monday night to Chipley 44-41 in a horrendous performance that saw the Tigers manhandle the Lady Braves. Walton shot a horrible 6-of-32 from the floor in the first half of that game, and started the Catholic game with cool shooting.
Lee Paulk, Tori Lincoln and Casey Perkins each had eight points in the loss to Chipley, which has now won five straight in the series.
Game Notes: Head Coach Terry McClure is in his fourth year at Walton, with a record of 36-25 at the school. Walton is 6-26 versus Pensacola Catholic since the 1992-93 season. The Braves have split the last 20 meetings with Chipley. Lynn Paulk scored 19 points in the junior varsity’s 57-23 win over Chipley on Monday night. How long had it been since Walton beat Pensacola Catholic in girls basketball? The seniors on the team were in kindergarten the last time Walton posted a win, since Lakeisha Parrish’s senior year of 1995-1996, when Walton went to the state championship game and lost to Tampa Academy of Holy Names, under coach Larry Geoghagan. Walton isn’t lighting things up from the free throw line: The Braves were 19-of-38 in the two games against Chipley and Pensacola Catholic last week.