After a slow start, the Destin Marlins rolled to a 40-25 win over the visiting Shoal River Mustangs in girls middle school basketball Thursday evening.


In the first quarter, both teams missed several shots with the period ending at 5-5.


But a slow start is not unusual for the Lady Marlins.


“We changed our warm-up before the game to prepare for a better first quarter, and it didn’t matter,” said Destin Coach Susie Pierce. “It just takes us a lot to get our engine going.”


However, once they got that engine revved up, the Marlins were firing on all cylinders.


At the start of the second quarter, Destin put up six points in the first minute with Anna Kimball, Ava Smith and Carson Fayard each scoring. Destin continued on the rampage with a free throw from Smith followed by two baskets from Kimball. Destin led 16-5 with 4:45 to go in the first half.


Shoal River came back with a couple of baskets and a two free throws, but Destin finished out the first half Kimball taking it inside for two baskets and Fayard hit a little outside jumper. Destin led 22-13 at the break.


In the third quarter, Destin’s Fayard didn’t miss. The sixth-grader made four baskets, while Kimball put a rebound back for two points. Shoal scored hit one bucket the entire quarter, with Destin finishing on top 32-15.


In the fourth, Destin scored eight points and Shoal River hit a couple of 3-pointers to boost their points to 10 for the period. Destin won 40-25.


Following the game, Coach Pierce spoke high of Fayard.


“Carson was amazing,” she said, noting the 16 points she tossed in. “We see that every day at practice, but this is the first time in a game that she hit that many shots.”


Leading scorer for the Marlins was eighth grader Kimball with 20. Smith chipped in four points.


Up next for the Lady Marlins is a 5:30 p.m. game Monday at home against the Ruckel Rams.