On Mon. March 9, Stow alumni David Walker and Northeastern’s basketball punched a ticket to the March Madness tournament for the first time since 1991. Walker played basketball at Stow and led the team to a combined 40-8 record his junior and senior years, earning many awards and offers to play in spotlight games.
“I have to give a lot of credit to Coach Close,” Walker said. “He taught me to do whatever it takes, on and off the court. Whether it’s a deadline for school, or fighting for a loose ball, he taught me to always keep fighting in order to succeed.”
With just four minutes left in the game, Northeastern Huskies (23-11) had built a 22 point lead over William and Mary (20-12). It was the CAA championship, and the winner got to go dancing with a spot in the tournament. The game seemed all but over, until William and Mary decided to not go down without a fight. Scoring the next 16 points, and cutting the lead to just six with 40 seconds left, things got really scary for Walker’s crew.
In the final 30 seconds, the Huskies made their final five of six free throws before Walker buried a game clinching three pointer to put William and Mary’s out of reach. The final score was 72-61.
“I never had a doubt this team would see the tournament,” Walker said. “My freshman year we were very close, and it was only a matter of time before we got another opportunity. We took advantage of it over William and Mary, and now are eyes focus on the tournament.”
During selection Sunday, the Huskies were awarded the 14th seed, and are playing against the winner of the ACC tournament, the three seed, Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish.
“We like being an underdog,” Walker said. “It gives us motive and passion and let’s us played relaxed basketball. We trust in the scouts to give us everything on the Irish, and we will use what we can to our advantage.”