FORT WALTON BEACH − Two games into the season, Greg Watson's crew has a pair of quality wins.
There's the 66-61 overtime win over Tate in which Makhi Jones dropped 23 points and Michael Carson flirted with a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds. And now there's Friday night 62-60 road win at a hostile environment in Fort Walton Beach, which could do nothing to stop Jones en route to a game-high 31 points.
Pretty good for a program with half its roster comprised of football players and only six real practices under its belt, eh?
"I'm proud of my guys," Watson said. "Our first win over Tate we had a bunch of turnovers, and we cleaned that up a little with the win over Fort Walton."
Returning its best player In Jones and a core nucleus following a 2021 campaign in which they finished 20-9 and advanced to the Sweet 16, this is a promising start for a Dawgs program with a massive ceiling and coachable players.
"We still have plenty to work on," Watson said. "But I have very coachable guys who enjoy competing so I expect us to get better as the season goes along."
On Friday night, the Dawgs trailed 27-23 at haltime but made key adjustments out of the locker room to outscore the Vikings 22-9 in the third quarter for a 45-36 advantage. Fort Walton got 22 points from Jameir Evans and 14 points from Rydder Hentze, but came up short in falling to 1-2.
The Vikings had their chances. Down a possession with 15 seconds left, they tried to force a turnover but the Dawgs ran the clock down to 0.9 seconds before Fort Walton drew a whistle and it was too late. Jaylen Knox followed up Jones with nine points for the Dawgs.
The Vikings will look to rebound tonight at home game against Navarre (0-3). Crestview, meanwhile, travels to Pensacola (1-4) Monday.
This article originally appeared on Northwest Florida Daily News: Crestview boys basketball down FWB in thriller, improves to 2-0