By PATRICK CASEY
The Walton Lady Braves earned a sweep in the season series with South Walton as they posted a 46-39 home victory over the Seahawks on Friday night.
The Braves, who won the game despite the absence of head coach Jerry Hester, turned the Senior Night event into their 14th victory of the year as they took advantage of poor shooting by the Seahawks to earn their 11th win in their last 12 games against South Walton.
The Braves held a 10-9 lead after one quarter of play as junior guard Gillian Infinger canned a pair of three-point shots in the opening period to get the home team off to a solid start.
The Braves pushed the lead to 23-19 at the break as five different players contributed in the scoring while the Seahawks struggled with 14 turnovers and 6-of-21 shooting in the opening 16 minutes of the contest.
Neither team could put many points on the scoreboard in the third quarter as they combined for 15 turnovers as the defenses continued to force a slow pace to the contest. The Braves posted a 9-6 scoring advantage to lead 32-25 after three quarters.
South Walton’s Sam Snider got hot in the fourth quarter as she scored eight of her 18 points in the final stanza but Walton center Taliah Moore countered with eight points of her own to help the Braves hold off the visiting squad for a 46-39 victory.
Infinger led Walton with 15 points while Moore finished the night with 14. Snider was the only player in double figures for the Seahawks, with Morgan Kennedy putting up nine points.
The loss ended South Walton’s nine-game winning streak as their regular season came to an end with a 16-8 mark while Walton improved to 14-8.
Both teams did shoot well from the free throw line as South Walton hit 11-of-15 shots while Walton canned 8-of-11 from the charity stripe.
Walton will travel to Panama City Arnold for the District 1, Class 3A girls basketball tournament as they will face the winner of the Pensacola Catholic-Chipley contest on Friday night at 5:30 p.m with a playoff berth on the line.
South Walton will face Sneads in an opening round contest at Grand Ridge School on Feb. 1 with a likely meeting with Holmes County on Friday night at 6 p.m. for a playoff spot.
Game Notes: Walton now holds a 14-5 lead in the series. Walton hit 17-of-44 shots from the floor but did have 26 turnovers in the contest compared to 24 for the Seahawks. South Walton hit only 12-of-47 shots from the floor. South Walton coach Kevin Craig is 125-64 in 6+ seasons at the school. Marla Harrell and Brad West coached the Walton girls team as Hester is serving a suspension after being ejected from the Freeport contest on Jan. 27.