PENSACOLA — They had their chances, but too many missed layups cost the South Walton Seahawks a 29-28 loss to the West Florida High School Jaguars in the Class 5A District 1 girl’s basketball championship game at Pensacola Catholic High School.
“What it came down to … you can’t miss all the layups we miss and beat a good team in a close game,” said South Walton Coach Kevin Craig. “We had a lot of players that just did not play like they are capable of playing.”
Nevertheless, he felt like his Seahawks outplayed their opponent.
“I thought we out hustled them and out played them," Craig said. "They just made the plays they had to make down the stretch and we didn’t.”
South Walton led 6-3 at the end of the first quarter and by the half the game was knotted at 11.
In the third quarter, West Florida took an 18-13 lead before South Walton came back to close it down and eventually take the lead 21-20 at the buzzer.
In the fourth, West Florida took a 26-21 lead early in the period. South Walton closed it down with Graesyn Lowry hitting a layup on an assist from Aidan Collins. Collins finished the night with nine points. At that point the Jaguars got the ball and went into stall mode killing about a minute off the clock. The two teams scrambled on the floor a couple of times for the ball and South Walton finally got the ball back with 3:17 left in the game. The Jag’s fouled and Ellie Wiggins went to the line and hit both shots to close it down 26-25.
West Florida again went into stall mode before finally trying an inside shot. South Walton got the ball and brought it down the court before they wound up on the floor again scrambling for the ball. West Florida got the ball and drove it down with Khadija Chambless taking the ball inside for a basket and a foul. She hit the free throw for a 29-25 lead with 32 seconds left.
Not done yet, South Walton got the ball back and Wiggins drained a 3-pointer from the left corner with 12 ticks left on the clock.
South Walton had one last chance to pull it out at the line with a couple of free throws but missed on both attempts.
Although South Walton lost the game, the Seahawks have another chance in region play.
“We just got to go the hard way,” Craig said.
South Walton will be on the road Thursday to take on Florida High in the first round of region play.