By PATRICK CASEY
The South Walton girls and boys basketball teams swept the Blountstown Tigers in a District 4, Class A match-up on Thursday.
The Lady Seahawks got off to a sluggish start in the opening minutes of the first quarter before pulling away for a 16-8 lead after one quarter of play. Morgan Kennedy had the hot hand early as she scored seven points in the opening frame.
South Walton increased the lead to 29-18 at intermission as Tayler Menard canned two shots from behind the arc in the second quarter to help the host squad overcome their shooting woes from the free throw line as the team hit only 3-of-9 shots from the charity stripe.
Mackenzie Perot took over in the second half as she scored 12 of her 16 points over the final 16 minutes of play. The Seahawks led 44-20 after three quarters and coasted to a 53-30 victory.
Blountstown committed 22 turnovers in the game and hit only 10-of-37 shots from the field in the contest. Ashtin McMullen led the Tigers with 12 points as they fell to 11-7 overall and 8-3 in district play.
The Seahawks moved to 16-5 overall and 11-0 in district play as Perot tallied 16 points, Kennedy 14 and Menard 11.
The Seahawks followed up that victory with a 47-23 win at Liberty County on Friday to finish the district slate with a perfect 12-0 mark to wrap up the top seed in the District 4 tournament which will begin the week of Jan. 28 at South Walton High School.
The South Walton boys squad rallied from a 25-23 halftime deficit behind the strong shooting of sophomore Paxton Dixon as he scored 20 points, 11 of which he tallied in the fourth quarter, to give the Seahawks a 58-35 district win over the Tigers.
The Seahawks struggled with their shooting in the first half as they managed to connect on only 9-of-32 shots from the field. The Tigers also struggled from the floor, hitting 9-of-28 shots, but also managed to connect on 6-of-11 shots from the free throw line to hold a two-point edge at intermission.
Blountstown slowed the pace of the game in the third quarter but could not find their shooting touch as the host squad took a 33-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Seahawks blew the game open over the final eight minutes as they drilled 8-of-14 shots from the floor and converted 6-of-8 free throws to earn their second win over Blountstown this season.
Darien Moore provided nine points off the bench as the Seahawks defense forced 25 turnovers in the game to improve to 11-8 overall.
South Walton added a 69-53 win at Liberty County on Friday night to push their record to 12-8 overall and finish the district slate with a 7-5 mark.
Team Notes: South Walton coach Kevin Craig is in his ninth season and holds a mark of 164-79 at the school. Craig is 673-252 in 30+ seasons as a head coach. The South Walton girls will have a first round bye in the district tournament. John Davies is in his sixth year as head coach of the boys squad and holds a mark of 67-87 at the school.