By PATRICK CASEY
The Walton Braves had a strong second half for the second time this season against the South Walton Seahawks as the Braves held off South Walton 55-51 in a District 1, Class 3A match-up last week.
Walton’s third quarter was the difference as the Braves went on a 16-4 run after intermission to take a 40-28 lead that they would eventually turn into a 55-51 victory on the road.
The game was tied at 24-24 at halftime as both teams struggled to get the offense going. South Walton was coming off a two week layoff while Walton continues to struggle with their shooting as the Braves have not shot the ball well since mid-December. Paul McClure kept Walton going on offense in the first half as he scored eight points while South Walton’s Jake Wright put up seven points in the first sixteen minutes of play to keep the game close.
Walton took advantage of South Walton’s ball-handling miscues, to the tune of 35+ turnovers in the game, as Issac Jackson scored eight of his 11 points in the final half of play by constantly harassing the guards for South Walton while tallying multiple steals to help Walton build a 12-point lead.
Cool free-throw shooting allowed the Seahawks to make a run in the fourth quarter as Walton hit only 11-of-26 foul shots on the night. The Seahawks put up 23 points in the final quarter, but fell too far behind to be able to pull off the rally.
James Towery led Walton with 13 points while McClure and Jackson added 11 points apiece. South Walton got 14 points from Jake Wright, but had no other player in double figures as the turnovers stole scoring opportunities from the squad.
Walton fell to Pensacola Catholic to take their first district loss of the season 62-57 on Friday night. The Crusaders used a 26-16 run in the second quarter to drop Walton to 3-1 in the district.
Paul McClure led the Braves with 18 points while James Towery added 14.
The Crusaders got 16 points from Tony Weathers to improve to 9-6 on the year and 4-0 in the district.
Game Notes: Walton is 13-0 against South Walton in the short series between the two schools. If South Walton is to beat the Braves this season it will have to be in the district tournament in Northview in February. Walton will host Pensacola Catholic on Friday, January 30, with the top seed for the district tourney likely on the line.