De’Naizha Elder hit two free throws in the closing seconds of Navarre’s game against Fort Walton Beach Thursday to lift the Raiders to a 60-57 win over the Vikings on senior night.
The Raiders led 12-6 at the end of one, 27-17 at halftime and 39-34 at the end of the third quarter. But they trailed the Vikings 43-42 with 6:05 remaining before Skye Buckner nailed a jumper in the lane to put Navarre back in front by one.
Layups by Jordyn York and Elder and a putback by Amber Leggett gave Navarre a 51-43 lead with 4:28 left but Fort Walton Beach rallied one more time and was within one at 58-57 with 51 seconds to go.
Elder’s two free throws sealed the deal on the 15th win of the year for the Raiders in what has been a remarkable turn-around campaign.
“Fort Walton is a very good basketball team. I’m proud of the girls for getting this win,” Navarre head coach Jackie Coyne said. “I was able to play my seniors the whole first quarter and they played well. It was a great night all the way around.”
York paced the Raiders with 22 points, scoring eight in the opening quarter. Elder also finished in double figures as she scored 21 points.
They were among the seven seniors recognized before the game. Khorri Newton, Karly Casey, Samantha Combs, Delia Vega and Gracie Vega are also seniors this season.
“It’s been fantastic to have our senior year go this way,” Newton said. “I’m loving every minute of it.”
The Raiders begin postseason play Tuesday with a 6:30 p.m. district final battle with Tate. Navarre enters the tourney with high expectations.
“The sky is the limit for this team,” Coyne said. “As long as the girls keep trusting the process, do the little things and play hard, we will be successful.”
Read more in the Jan. 28 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.