The South Walton Seahawks may not have checked off a mark in the win column this week, but coach is proud of the effort.

The Seahawk girl’s basketball team lost two games in a Pre-Season Classic this week at Fort Walton Beach High School. They lost 43-25 to Booker T. Washington of Pensacola on Tuesday and then to host school Fort Walton Beach, 57-38 on Thursday.

“We played the best team we’ll probably play all year,” said South Walton Coach Kevin Craig said after Thursday’s loss to the FWB Vikings.

“Based on the other night, I was not pleased,” Craig said of his Seahawks effort against Washington.

However, Thursday was a different day.

“I thought our effort and intensity was great. We didn’t back down. I was very pleased,” Craig said.

The Seahawks played nine girls and were missing two who will see a lot of playing time.

“The way we’re going to play we need a lot of kids to play,” he added.

Both teams had eight players put points on the board.

“Our offense got a little discombobulated at times. But I give Fort Walton credit for that,” Craig said.

“And we got killed on rebounds. They have really good athletic ability and they attack the boards. There’s only so much you can do with that,” he said.

To start, Fort Walton jumped out to a 7-2 lead. South Walton came back to tie the game with a 3-pointer from Ellie Wiggins followed by an inside shot from Aidan Collins. The Vikings answered with Alexsia Gilliam scoring. The Seahawks took their only lead of the game in the last couple of minutes of the first period. Gracie Lowry nailed a 3 and then Gracie Ricci was fouled and hit the second of two tries for an 11-9 advantage.

In the last minute, Fort Walton regain the lead with Tanyvia Tussin hitting a layup and Alysia McLeod a couple of free throws for a 13-11 game at the buzzer.

In the second quarter, the Vikings started to pull away from the Seahawks putting up nine consecutive points with PNut Payton, Aliyah Davenport, Gilliam and Jamilyn Jarvis contributing. In the last couple of minutes Gilliam put up seven points and the Vikings led 31-19 at the half.

In the third, South Walton hung with the Vikings putting up 11 points to their 14. Late in the quarter, the Seahawks made a little run with Allison Richards hitting a free throw, followed by a jumper from Allee Coble and another bucket from Richards.

Early in the fourth, the Seahawks closed it down to a 12-point game with a short jumper from Coble and a free throw from Aidan Collins, but that was as close as they would get.

For the game, South Walton had eight players put points on the board with Gracie Lowry putting up eight points. Scoring seven each were Richards and Collins.

Tops for the Vikings were Payton with 14 points, and McLeod and Gilliam each with 11.

“I played in this tournament to play two really good teams,” Craig said.

“With us moving up in 5A this year it was important that we get used to the speed and the physical nature of the game. And I’m pleased with what we did this week. It doesn’t matter if we won or lost.”