Ty Walker Wins State Title, MVP

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A Ty Walker-led defense ended Wilmington (N.C.) New Hanover's 39-year basketball championship drought Saturday night. The Wildcats defeated Charlotte (N.C.) Vance, 39-35, to win the NCHSAA 4A State Title.

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    "It's the best feeling in the world [to win the title]," said Walker. "Since 1968 that dusty banner has been up there. It's a good feeling to have a new banner up there next to it."

    Walker, a 7-foot center, was named the game's Most Outstanding Player after leading both teams in points and blocks. He scored 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and blocked eight shots. He also collected six rebounds.

    "[The MVP] adds a lot, really," said Walker. "It's a good feeling to get the MVP."

    Although both teams averaged over 62 points-per-game during the season, the two teams produced a low scoring event.

    "I felt as though it was a low scoring game because they're a very patient team," said Walker. "They like to run sets a lot. They like to play half court, offensively; we like to play full court. So we just had to adjust."

    New Hanover set the stage for a defensive battle early by holding Vance scoreless for the first four minutes of the game. During that span, Walker blocked four shots.

    "I knew I had to block shots [early on] because they were very dominant in the post; they have strong post players," said Walker. "I know they can score in the post so I had to contend shots."

    With solid second and third quarters, New Hanover headed into the fourth quarter with their largest lead of the game – nine points. During those two quarters, Walker scored 10 of his 12 points.

    "I'm not really worried about my scoring opportunities, I'm just really glad that we got the win," said Walker.

    Midway through the fourth quarter, Vance went on an 11-2 run to take a 35-34 lead with 1:37 remaining. A George Bryan steal coupled with a James Beatty jumper regained the lead and ultimately the victory for New Hanover.

    Just a junior, Walker has high hopes for his final high school season.

    "We won the state championship, but I know we can come back next year and do the same exact thing," said Walker.

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