Voyager rolls into Carolina 12 title game
It may be a year ahead of schedule, but it appears the Voyager Academy boys’ basketball team is in full bloom as it won its Carolina 12 semifinal game against Franklin Academy 79-58 on Wednesday.
Voyager is in only its third season as a varsity basketball program with no seniors.
“This is the VAB (Voyager Academy Basketball) process here,” said coach Patrick Walton, who has built the program from the ground up. “When you’re building a program, it’s going to be a process.”
The process to a victory on Wednesday started with a full-out blitz. The Vikings spread the ball around, receiving points from all five of their starters only 2:30 into the game with Gary Ford draining a 3-pointer for an 11-7 lead.
Ford scored again on the next play, as the Vikings went on a 20-7 run to close out the first quarter.
The Vikings (15-9) switched between a half-court trap and full-court press on defense to create turnovers that transitioned into easy offensive scores.
“We rely on our defense to create offensive opportunities,” Walton said. “When we get turnovers and distribute the ball around, things work out for us.”
Ford had 19 points and Patrick Lester finished with 15, and both had with five steals.
The Patriots (9-13) were able to slow the game down in the second quarter as each team only scored 11 points. The Vikings took a 40-25 lead into the locker room.
But the Vikings scoring assault began again in the third quarter, with Lester scoring eight points.
Despite Voyager’s 25-point lead going into the fourth quarter, Franklin refused to go away. Marcus McLean, who led Franklin with 20 points, started the quarter off with a 3-point basket to spark a 10-0 run for the Patriots.
But 11 fourth-quarter points by Voyager’s Diante Parker fended off the Franklin run. Parker finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Christopher Sause scored 14 points and grabbed 10 boards for Franklin. Coltyn Faucette led the Vikings with 13 rebounds.
“This is the best birthday present they could give me,” Walton said of his 32nd birthday. “We hope that games like tonight can carry us as we become more consistent.”
Walton’s previous two teams went 2-17 and 7-17. On Friday, the Vikings will play in the Carolina 12 championship game against River Mill, which beat Roxboro Community 70-52 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
Voyager 79, Franklin 58
FRANKLIN — Marcus McLean 20, Brandon Hanson 11, Mick Mazzoleni 10, Makhi Crawford 9, Andrew Weiss 4, Evan Uhlig 2, Jacob Bones 2.
VOYAGER — Diante Parker 20, Gary Ford 19, Patrick Lester 15, Christopher Sause 14, Coltyn Faucette 8, Matt Jones 2, Charlie Stone 1.