By PATRICK CASEY
The Walton Lady Braves earned their seventh straight win over the South Walton Seahawks as a 17-8 run in the fourth quarter allowed the Braves to pull away for a 40-27 win in a District 1, Class 3A contest. Walton, which battled massive foul problems in the first half of play, saw six different players contribute baskets in the final eight minutes of play to improve to 4-3 on the season.
Lee Paulk led the way for Walton with eight points, but her teammates all had a hand in keeping the Braves ahead on the road as Betsy Stevenson scored seven points and Casey Perkins and Tori Lincoln had six points apiece.
The outcome might have been different if South Walton could have found their shooting touch in any one period of play. The Seahawks hit on only 8-of-43 shots from the floor and never made more than three shots from the floor in any of the four periods of play. Free throw shooting was abundant, but the Seahawks canned only 10-of-24 shots from the charity stripe. Still, the Seahawks tied the game right before halftime as they went on an 11-2 run to even up the game at 14-14.
Walton was whistled for 16 first half fouls, mostly on their interior players, prompting Walton coach Terry McClure to take the air out of the ball and run more than three minutes of clock with point guard Tori Lincoln holding the ball under her shoulder just across the half-court line.
South Walton coach Kevin Craig had his team come out of their zone defense with less than a minute to go, and force a turnover that eventually led to a foul and free throws that tied the game moments before halftime.
Walton got into more of a flow in the second half as the Braves were whistled for only seven second half fouls, losing only Delaney Bell to a fifth foul. The Braves were able to build a lead and keep the rest of their players on the floor to finish out the game and collect a win.
South Walton’s Sadie Hussien led the Seahawks with seven points while Jamie Delaney added six.
Game Notes: Walton and South Walton each had 16 turnovers. South Walton played without guard Julie Williamson, due to illness. The Seahawks may have suffered from a tough road contest at Baker less than 24 hours before the game with Walton. South Walton beat the Gators 42-29, but they left their shooting touch in Baker, apparently. Head Coach Terry McClure is in his fourth year at Walton with a record of 38-26 at the school. Walton is 10-4 versus South Walton since the 2003-04 season. MacKenzie Watson scored 12 points as South Walton captured the junior varsity game. South Walton is 9-2 with their only other loss coming to Pensacola High in the Choctaw tournament. Pensacola is currently 10-0 on the year. The two squads will meet in DeFuniak Springs on January 15.