By PATRICK CASEY
The eight team Hilton Sandestin Beach Basketball Blowout girls basketball tournament got underway on Dec. 28 at Freeport Middle School with four members of the Area 5 taking part, three against out-of-state competition.
Walton ran into a buzzsaw as Cannon County drilled several shots from behind the arc while forcing numerous turnovers on the first day of the event as they ran out to a 27-12 lead after one quarter of play. The Braves could not find their shooting touch as they trailed the Tennessee squad 44-24 at the half. The Lions had little trouble in the second half as their pressure defense kept the local team from making a rally as they pulled away for a convincing 83-51 victory. Deja Tucker had 19 points for Walton with Taliah Moore adding 11 and Krista McQueen chipping in 10.
Paxton avenged a season-ending loss in February to Holmes County in the second game of the first round as they defeated the Bluedevils 55-46 behind 15 points from junior Quinn Williams. Holmes County held a 9-8 lead after the first quarter as both teams struggled to put the ball through the hoop from the field during that time. Shots began to fall in the second quarter as the two teams hit intermission with Holmes County holding a 24-23 advantage. The Bobcats turned the momentum in their favor in the third quarter as they forced seven of the Bluedevils’ 24 turnovers during that eight minute span with Williams and Emily Murray providing shots from behind the arc for a 40-31 lead after 24 minutes of the contest. Mikayla Moore scored nine of her 20 points in the game in the fourth quarter as she rallied the Bonifay squad to within a handful of points. Holmes County began fouling Paxton late in the game in an attempt to get the Bobcats to miss free throws to give them a chance to tie the game but the Walton County squad hit 9-of-17 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter to hold on for the win.
Ponce de Leon got a battle from White Plains in the first half as the Alabama squad led 14-13 after the first quarter as the Pirates struggled with turnovers and poor shooting before righting the ship. The Pirates used the size of Hannah Howell and Brittany Alford to score points in the paint as they rallied to a 29-24 halftime lead. It was all PDL in the second half as they scored the first 14 points of the third quarter to pull away for a 43-24 lead that turned into a 51-32 margin at the end of three quarters. The Pirates moved to 14-0 on the year with a 59-42 victory that propelled them into the winner’s bracket for a second round game. Hannah Howell had 14 points and JoJo Carlson 11.
Glencoe used a pressure defense to take a 15-6 lead over host Freeport as the Bulldogs struggled to mount an offense against a solid defensive team on the first day of the tournament. The Yellowjackets rolled to a 29-11 lead at the half and pushed the margin to 50-20 at the end of three quarters. Freeport battled back against the Glencoe reserves but lost by a 55-31 margin. Mary Kate Myrick led the host squad with 15 points.
On Saturday in the consolation round opener, Freeport trailed White Plains 22-17 at halftime but rallied to tie the game at both the end of the third and fourth quarters to force overtime….
Read the full story in the Jan. 3, 2013 edition of the Herald Breeze.