By PATRICK CASEY
The South Walton Seahawks avenged a loss to Ponce de Leon in the season opener with a 50-32 victory over the Pirates on Thursday night that extended the host squad’s winning streak to nine consecutive games.
Senior guard Sam Snider scored 17 points while Alex Lovell added 11 points as the Seahawks earned a split in the regular season series.
The Pirates could not overcome a woeful 13-of-50 shooting night from the floor as they fell to 22-3 on the regular season. Ashley Harper led PDL with eight points on the night.
South Walton jumped out to a 13-5 lead after the first quarter and took a 28-18 lead into the locker room by forcing 11 turnovers from the Pirates in the first half while the visiting team could connect on only 7-of-26 shots from the floor.
The Pirates played the game without the services of center Jasmine Flock and struggled to get anything going in the lane as South Walton forced the squad to settle for outside shots that would not fall for the majority of the contest.
South Walton earned a sweep in the season series with Freeport as they picked up a 58-17 victory at home on Jan. 25. The Seahawks opened the game with a 24-0 run and led 29-2 after the first quarter as they hit 12-of-17 shots from the floor to quickly distance themselves from a Bulldogs squad that was playing the contest without leading scorer Dannica Mosher.
South Walton led 39-8 at the half and coasted to a 58-17 win behind 15 points from Sam Snider. South Walton forced 27 turnovers in the game and held Freeport to 7-of-31 shooting from the floor.
Walton broke the Seahawks winning streak with a 46-39 victory in DeFuniak Springs on Friday night as South Walton enters the District 2, Class 2A tourney with a 16-8 mark. South Walton will likely have to face Holmes County in a semi-final contest on Friday night at Grand Ridge with a playoff berth on the line.
PDL rebounded from their loss to the Seahawks with a 39-18 win over Pleasant Home as the Pirates celebrated Homecoming and the regular season finale on Saturday night.
The Pirates are the top seed in the District 1, Class 2A tournament and will play their semi-final on Friday night in Baker at 6 p.m. against the winner of the opening round contest between Jay and Northview.
Game Notes: South Walton was 0-7 in the short history of the series with PDL until their win last week. South Walton has won eight in a row against Freeport and is 14-4 since the series began in 2003. Seahawks Coach Kevin Craig is in his 7th year at the school and holds a mark of 125-64 at the school. PDL coach Tim Alford is in his 16th season at the school with a record of 347-135.