Walker edges Math, Civics and Sciences in thriller

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It looked like it would be that type of game from the start.

It turned out that way.

Evenly matched Walker High and Math, Civics and Sciences High (PA) battled to the wire before the Wildcats emerged with a 63-63 victory in the opening round of the boys’ National bracket of the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic at the Alario Center Thursday afternoon.

After Nisine Poplar split a pair of free throws with 27.7 seconds left to give the Mighty Elephants a 63-62 lead, Kedric Brown scored off of a steal when his shot was goaltended and he completed a 3-point play after being fouled to provide the margin of victory.

Math, Civics and Sciences had a two shots to tie but came up short as Naadhir Wood missed a shot at the buzzer.

The Wildcats overcame foul trouble.

Brian Thomas Jr. missed significant time before fouling out in the fourth quarter with 12 points and three rebounds.

LSU signee Jalen Cook sat out nearly five minutes in the fourth quarter with four fouls before returning just in time.

Walker took an 18-15 lead after one quarter on the strength of seven points from Thomas Jr. and the Wildcats extended the edge to 33-26 by halftime as Cook scored eight points in the second quarter, including 6-of-6 from the free throw line.

Cook kept up the assault in the third quarter, scoring 10 more points as Walker maintained its seven-point lead at 54-47, setting the stage for a frantic final quarter.

There were four lead changes in the final three minutes before the Wildcats secured the victories.

Cook finished with 20 points, four rebounds, three assists and a block while Thomas Jr. Brown had 10 points and four rebounds.

Poplar topped Math, Civics and Sciences (7-2) with 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists while Wood had 10 points, six rebounds and three blocks, scoring eight of his 10 points in the final frame. Marcus Middleton had nine points.

Walker (13-3) won its fourth straight game and the Wildcats advance to the quarterfinals to take on powerful Bloom Township, IL on Friday at 3:30 p.m. while the Mighty Elephants will play Newman in the consolation round Friday.

Bloom defeated Newman 70-61.

FINAL
Walker 18 15 21 11 65
MCSCS 15 11 21 16 63

Scoring:
Walker—Jalen Cook 20, Brian Thomas Jr. 12, Kedric Brown 10, Donald Butler 8, Ja’Cory Thomas 2, Keondre Brown 1

MCSCS—Nisine Poplar 22, Naadhir Wood 10, Marcus Middleton 9, Niaceem Edwards 7, Zakee Fleming 4, Tayshon Nixon 3, Tvon Jones 1

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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