The Franklin County Seahawks, fresh from their second victory this year over Port St. Joe, will close out their regular season of varsity basketball this week against some tough opponents, as they prepare for the post-season.

The road trip began Friday at Port St. Joe, where Nathan West’s squad squared off against the Tiger Sharks before a packed gymnasium.

After jumping out to a 36-16 lead, the Hawks let Sandy Quinn’s squad inch back into the game in the second quarter, to make for a 38-33 score at the half.

“We got into foul trouble,” said West.

Sophomore Eden Brathwaite and seniors Simon Brathwaite and Mikalin Huckeba each picked up his second foul, and senior Daijon Penamon his third, all in the second quarter.

“We had guys in positions they haven’t really played all year,” said West. “They went to a 1-3-1 zone and we had guys on the perimeter that hadn’t played the perimeter much.”

The Hawks sent Port St. Joe to the foul line, and that cost some points, West said. “They made seven free throws in the second quarter, they were 7 for 11 in that quarter. But they only shot four the rest of the game," he said.

At the end of the third quarter the Seahawks led 47-39, but with 1:25 left in the game, the Tiger Sharks made it 50-47.

But senior Simon Brathwaite seized his missed shot, and put it back in, and then junior Isiah DeCoursey stole the ball and took it the length of the couth for a score, and Brathwaite, left wide open, scored a second time, to give the Seahawks a, insurmountable nine-point lead with 30 seconds left.

Sophomore Lamarius Martin’s free throws iced the 58-47 victory, nearly identical to the 58-48 win at home in early January.

“We ended up grinding out a win, it’s a tough place to play,” said West. “I was pleased with our effort. We knew it was going to be a dogfight the rest of the game.”

The coach said his team, now 15-6 overall, will have to improve at the charity stripe, after they shot a lackluster 11 of 22 against the Tiger Sharks.

Simon Brathwaite led the team with 20 poitns and 15 rebounds, followed by Penamon with 12 points. “Daijon’s been in a shooting slump the past three or four games, but he’s been doing other things for us. He makes good decisions out there on the court most of the time,” said West. “I never discourage him from shooting. I tell him ‘your first shot should be your best shot, a rhythm shot. He’s hit big shots for us.”

Martin scored 17 points, and junior Grady five, and DeCoursey and senior Alex Hardy each two.

On Tuesday night in Panama City, the Seahawks faced Class 6A Arnold and lost by three points, 55-52.

Simon Brathwaite led the team with 21 points and seven rebounds, with Martin scoring 14,

“We gave up 15 offensive rebounds,” said West. “They scored on every possession where they got an offensive rebound.”

The Seahawks travel to Wewa Friday for their last district game, hoping to wrap up a perfect 10-0 regular season record in the district, where they’ll be the top seed, with a first game bye, when the post-season open Feb. 11, also in Wewahitchka.

On Tuesday, the Hawks will be at Class 6A Rutherford, and then on Friday, Feb. 8 they’ll be back for Senior Night before a happy home crowd, and face Class 3A powerhouse, John Paul II.

“We’re going to finish the season playing good competition,” said West. “We don’t want to relax, we want to stay sharp. These are three more games we want to go win.

“We all have a goal in mind,” he said. “I think we’re in a right state of mind. The regular season is about to be over and then the fun starts.”