The Pensacola Catholic Crusaders proved to be too much for South Walton, beating the Seahawks 74-47 in varsity boy’s basketball action in Santa Rosa Beach.
“They killed us on the boards and got back into transition quicker than we did. That’s where they beat us,” said South Walton Coach Craig Smith.
Catholic jumped out to a 15-8 lead in the first quarter with six players contributing. South Walton’s Cade Rowland and Jacob Tisdale drilled 3-pointers while Dylan Hebert hit a layup.
In the second quarter, the Seahawks came within two points of catching the Crusaders but could never get over the hump. About midway through the period, Chandler Johnston came off the bench and hit a couple of shots to for a 19-16 game. Pensacola Catholic’s Alec Grimes hit a 3-pointer and Hebert made two from the foul line for the Seahawks. The Crusaders scored two more points from the foul line, and then Barrett Waldrop and Tisdale hit back-to-back baskets to close it down 24-22. But that was as close as the Seahawks would come. In the last two minutes of the first half, Pensacola Catholic outscored South Walton 9-1 for a 33-23 advantage at the break.
In the third quarter, Pensacola Catholic made an eight-point run about midway of the period to go up 44-31. By the end of the period, Catholic led 54-38.
In the final stanza, Catholic poured it on putting up 20 points to South Walton’s nine.
Top scorers for Catholic were DJ McKenzie with 22 points, Nitrell Bledsoe with 16 and Kyneem Coleman 11.
Scoring in double figures for the Seahawks was Rowland with 14 and Hebert 11. Tisdale scored eight.
“We’ve got to work on stopping people from getting in the paint and beating us back, boxing out and getting on the boards,” Smith said.
The Seahawks will be at home at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 against county rival Walton County High Braves.