No one in the arena could have reasonably given the much smaller Vikings even the slimmest of chances at victory over a much bigger and more physically dominating Mt. Zion team, including Latta HS Coach Smith.
"Well, I'll be honest," said Latta's Coach Smith, "I was hesitant to think that we could probably pull it off. I knew the odds were against us, but when you have kids with heart, I guess size doesn't matter. When you've got, in my opinion, the #1-player in the country on your squad anything is possible. I guess that was proven tonight."
"I just came out and played hard and did what I had to do," said the humble Felton. "It was the kind of game that I wanted to win and that I had to win because the other guys, they disrespected us. They called us a soccer team, and they called us a middle school team. I really took that to heart so I just came out and played hard. Yesterday, we saw them at McDonald's, and they called us that, and they called us that before the game."
Early on, it looked as if the Mt Zion size might be too much for the smaller Vikings to handle, but a second-quarter rally led by a barrage of 3-pointers from Raymond Felton (19 points in the quarter) sent the Vikings to the locker room up 38-36 at the half.
In the second half, it was more of the Raymond Felton show. Three-pointers, driving jumpers and floaters, and passes to teammates kept the Vikings in the game. When Raymond Felton grabbed a Mt. Zion miss, with his team leading by one, the ensuing trip to the foul line would be enough to preserve the win.
With each win over a heavily-favored opponent the Raymond Felton legend continues to grow. Last year it was Dematha that was slain by the Vikings. This year it is Mt. Zion that falls. Pretty soon, this team will no longer be the hunter--but the hunted--as long as Raymond Felton is pushing the Vikings to victory.
The inagural meeting of the Raymond Felton fan club--(L-R) Matthew Fletcher, David Johnson, and Ben Reichard.