Fort Walton Beach comes up short in State Championship Game
LAKELAND, Fla. (WEAR) —
Fort Walton Beach, playing the state championship game for the first time since 1999, was considered a big underdog against the defending state champs from Fort Myers.
Early on it looked like a mismatch. A plethora of turnovers and a bunch of wow plays by South Carolina commit Destanni Henderson put the Vikings down 12-0.
Julia Turner would bring Fort Walton Beach to life, the senior guard nailing back to back 3’s in the 2nd quarter to get the Vikings going. P-nut Payton raised her game to keep the Vikings in it. The star junior heats up, including a buzzer beating 3, and Fort Walton was within 7 at the half, 31-24.
Payton picked up where she left off in the 3rd quarter, pretty much willing her team into contention. Fort Walton was within 5 late in the 3rd quarter, and after answering a Wave run, down 6 early in the 4th. But Fort Myers kicks it up a notch down the stretch
They go on an 18-4 run to close it out, and it’s a 2nd straight state title for the Green Wave as Fort Walton Beach comes up short, 69-49 the final score. Payton finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds.