Walton opened the tournament with a double-digit win over Charlotte (NC) East Mecklenburg but faced a very talented United Faith Christian Academy in Monday night's semifinal. United Faith Christian features five legitimate high-major players including 2010 standouts Ian Miller, a Florida State commitment, Tevin Friday, and Kadeem Green. UFCA plays five players who are 6'6 or taller... Walton's tallest player is Glen Rice. A talented senior committed to play on the wing at Georgia Tech, Rice checks in at 6-foot-5.
Walton used its quickness and received strong efforts from Rice and Wolfpack commitment Ryan Harrow to remain in the game. UFCA eventually won 110-109 in double overtime with Friday scoring 37 and Miller adding 30. Harrow paced Walton with 38 and nine assists, and Rice chipped in 28 in a losing cause.
"It was an unbelievable high school game," said coach Goydish. "Glen hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put us into overtime and Ryan hit a big-time 3-pointer at the end of the first overtime to force a second.
"We had some chances. We turned it over and didn't shoot the ball well in the first half, but it was an exciting game. We had a lot of production from a lot of kids... Ryan was outstanding. I think he had 26 points in the fourth quarter and the two overtimes. He was great."
"It was real competitive," said Harrow. "I was going back and forth with Ian and everyone played hard. Rebounding [was the difference]... they were just so much bigger than us and overpowered us on the board. I think that's how they got us."
Walton had hoped to win the game so they could face Roswell (GA) Centennial in the finals, but it didn't happen and they had Matthews (NC) Butler waiting for them in the third-place game.
Harrow got it going early, and never cooled off. He finished the game with 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting from the field, including 4-of-9 from behind the 3-point line. The 6-foot point guard also totaled 10 assists and three steals to lead Walton to a 76-65 win.
"It was a big win for us," said Harrow. "We didn't win the championship, but I'm just glad our team was focused and able to come back from last night's loss.
"This was my last game in North Carolina so I tried to put on a show so some of the fans could remember me. I had a lot of family and friends here too so I was trying to play good for them."
"Ryan didn't force things tonight, and he made a lot of plays for us," said coach Goydish. "He got guys involved and played a great game. He's a very, very good player."
Harrow averaged 32 points and nine assists over the tournament's three games, more than enough to garner All-Tournament honors. He was the only play from a team not in the finals to make the All-Tournament squad.
The Raiders head back to Marietta 5-3 on the season. They return to action on December 27 in the Schnucks Holiday Classic in Collinsville, Illinois.