The Seahawks boys varsity basketball team has opened with a slow start, managing to win two of their opening eight games as they seek their first district win.
The boys nearly got their first league win on Dec. 13 at home, when they lost a 69-67 heartbreaker to district rival Liberty County, which had amassed a 39-29 halftime lead.
But Coach Mike Sweatt’s squad refused to quit, and outscored the Bulldogs 17-6 in the third quarter to knot the game at 41-all with 3:19 left in the quarter. They then ripped off five straight to take a 46-45 lead going into the final quarter.
With six minutes left, senior forward Ladarius Rhodes hit a free throw to tie it at 52-all, and then freshman Carza Harvey’s trey with 1:27 left gave the Seahawks a 62-60 lead.
It was neck-and-neck after that, until with less than 10 seconds left, Harvey nailed a second trey to pull within one, 68-67. But a Bulldog free throw secured the win for Liberty County.
Harvey led the Seahawks with 22 points, seven assists, and four steals to key the late-game comeback. Senior guard Skyler Hutchinson added 17 points.
Rhodes led the team with nine rebounds, with sophomore guard Kelsey Jones pulling down eight, and junior forward Logan McLeod seven.
The boys opened their season last month with a frustrating 51-49 loss on the road to Aucilla Christian, paced by Harvey’s 22 points, including eight assists. Trailing by five, 40-35 after three quarters, the Seahawks outscored Aucilla 14-11 in the final stanza before falling by two.
Junior Cameron White led the team with eight rebounds, with Hutchinson snagging seven.
A week later, Franklin County earned its first win, a 47-46 win in Tallahassee Nov. 27 against John Paul II,
On Nov. 29, the boys fell at Wewahitchka 80-46, after facing a running clock halfway through the third quarter. The team was paced by Harvey’s 14 points and six assists, with points from Hutchinson and eight from Rhodes.
Senior center Direek Farmer snagged four rebounds, with Hutchinson and Rhodes each pulling down three.
At Bozeman Dec. 7, the boys fell 58-49, after draining 17 unanswered points in the third quarter against the Bucks. The Seahawks outscored their opponents 18-4 in that quarter, but were outpaced 20-15 in the fourth quarter to account for the loss.
Harvey led the team with 18 points, including five treys, followed by Hutchinson with nine points and senior guard Seth Rogers with seven.
Senior center David Butler had 10 rebounds, with Rhodes and Harvey each pulling down six.
Against West Gadsden at home Dec. 8, the local boys fell 76-35, after failing to score at all in the second quarter against a 30-point spree by the Panthers..
Harvey led the team with 11 points, and Hutchinson had eight. Butler paced the team with six rebounds.
The Seahawks notched their second win of the season, 68-53, at Tallavana Christian Dec. 10. The Seahawks led throughout three quarters, but were outscored 27-15 in the final quarter to make the score closer than it was.
Four Seahawks were in double figures, led by Butler with 14, Rhodes with 12 (including 6/8 from the field), Hutchinson with 11 and Harvey with 10 (including 4/4 from the charity stripe).
Harvey led the team with 14 assists, while Butler led with 10 rebounds. The team suffered an injury to Rogers, who sustained a wrist injury that will likely end his senior season.
On Friday at South Walton, Franklin County was defeated by the Seahawks to the west, which had amassed a 60-19 halftime lead before cruising to a 79-34 triumph.
The ‘Battle on the Gulf’ will get into full swing right after Christmas, as eight basketball squads – four boys and four girls - fight it out in post-holiday tournament action. All games will be played at Franklin County High School.
Thursday, Dec. 27
(Home team, in white, is listed first)
· Game 1 Girls @ 2:30 p.m. Franklin vs. Tallavana
· Game 2 Boys @ 4 p.m. Wewahitchka vs. Madison
· Game 3 Boys @ 6 p.m. Franklin vs. Tallavana
· Game 4 Girls @ 8 p.m. Madison vs. Faith Baptist
Friday, Dec. 28
· Game 1 Girls @ 2:30 p.m Tallavana vs. Madison
· Game 2 Boys @ 4 p.m. Tallavana vs. Wewahitchka
· Game 3 Girls @ 6 p.m. Faith Baptist vs. Franklin
· Game 4 Boys @ 7:30 p.m. Madison vs. Franklin
Saturday, Dec. 29
(Home team will be the higher seeded team by tournament record
· Girls @ 2:30 p.m. between third and fourth place
· Boys @ 4 p.m. between third and fourth place
· Girls @ 6 p.m. Championship Game
· Boys @ 7:30 p.m. Championship Game
* Best record championship for the boys and girls. Tie-breakers will be decided by total points difference in win/loss with a maximum of 13 (Example: Win by 6, lose by 5 = +1).