Freeport falls in final seconds in Beach Blowout

Tina Harbuck | 315-4466 | @DestinLogTina |
Freeport's Case Woodard takes the ball up inside against Stewarts Creek Redhawk Daniel Freeman. Woodard led the Freeport Bulldogs with 21 points. TINA HARBUCK/THE SUN

FREEPORT – In a game that deadlocked five times, Freeport fell 38-36 in the final seconds to Stewarts Creek of Symrna, Tennessee, on Day 1 of the Sandestin Hilton Beach Blowout.

“We played hard. We just didn’t make some shots when we needed to,” said Freeport Coach David Felix.

Freeport, 8-4, is just one of 16 teams from throughout the Southeast participating in the double-elimination tournament at Freeport High School.

In the first quarter, the Bulldogs outscored the Stewarts Creek Redhawks 12-8 with Case Woodard leading the way for Freeport with eight points. The Redhawks came out firing off 3-pointers, but only got one to fall.

In the second quarter, Freeport’s Shannon Carswell hit an inside shot before the Redhawks made seven consecutive points to take a 15-14 lead. A minute later, Freeport’s Woodard swished his third 3-pointer of the game to put the Bulldogs back on top 17-15. Seconds later, Terrell Brown of Stewarts Creek, who finished with 10 points, made an inside shot to tie the game 17-17 at the half.

In the third, Woodard, who finished with 21 points, started the scoring off for the Bulldogs with a bucket followed by a 2-pointer from Stewart’s Jonathan Pelleaux. About a minute later, Desmond Sales hit a jumper to put the Redhawks on top 21-19. Freeport’s Woodard nailed a 3 just seconds later. With 1:15 left in the third, Brown made a steal for a quick layup to put Stewarts Creek on top 23-22. In the last minute, Freeport’s Zack Seay hit a jumper and Woodard came back down and swished their own jumper from the paint for a 26-23 lead at the buzzer.

The final stanza was close with Freeport leading the way with Stewarts Creek playing catch-up. The Redhawks caught the Bulldogs three times to tie the game. With 32 seconds left to play, Freeport got the ball to half court and called timeout. On the inbounds, the Redhawks fouled and put Woodard on the line. Woodard made the second of two tries to go up 36-35. The Redhawks took the ball down and passed it around with Brayden Jackson, who finished with 11 points, drilling a 3-pointer. With 3.5 seconds left to play, Freeport brought it down and fired off a 3-pointer from almost half court that bounced off the board.

“We’ve played hard all year. Hopefully this game will just make us better,” Felix said.

In other first-day tournament action:

Paxton whipped Fort Dale Academy (Alabama) 56-18. Paxton led throughout with every player putting points on the board.

At the half, Paxton led 27-6. The top scorer for Paxton was Jacob Butts with 12 points. Gabe Nelson scored nine, while Zach Williams and Ben Hunt each tossed in seven.

Luke Taylor scored 14 of the 18 points for Fort Dale.