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Vikings 4A State Champions

3/18/24

By:

Tiffany Walston

Beat New Hanover 57-47

North Mecklenburg secured their third NCHSAA 4A state championship by defeating New Hanover with a final score of 57-47 on Saturday.


 Throughout the game, the Vikings maintained a lead, with point guard Chadlyn Traylor and McDonald’s All-American Isaiah Evans contributing with layups and jump shots. On the defensive end, North Mecklenburg limited New Hanover to 39.2 percent shooting and dominated the boards with a 39-19 rebounding advantage.



Isaiah Evans, a McDonald’s All-American committed to Duke, showcased his talent by evolving into one of the nation's top players. Despite opportunities to join prestigious prep schools, Evans chose to remain at North Mecklenburg, where he earned Mr. Basketball honors in consecutive seasons, solidifying his status as a standout in high school basketball.


“It means everything to me,” he said. “Coming in as a freshman, you hear about all these other great players. It kind of sparks something in you. It makes you want to make a name for yourself. Going to a private school across the world and winning a meaningless game doesn’t really do anything for you. It doesn’t fulfill you, in my opinion. This is fulfilling. We put in real hours and time and sweat and blood for this. This wasn’t something we woke up one day and decided we were going to do.”

Evans, who was named the championship MVP, contributed 23 points and eight rebounds despite facing constant double-teams from a determined New Hanover team. Their strategy aimed to prevent him from replicating a previous 48-point performance that had eliminated Myers Park, ranked No. 4 nationally, in the quarterfinals.



Meanwhile, Traylor showcased a versatile game with 15 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals. He also played exceptional defense against Rodmik Allen, New Hanover's junior point guard and leading scorer. Allen, averaging 17.4 points on 45 percent shooting, managed to score 13 points but struggled with a 5-for-21 shooting performance and only one assist, largely due to Traylor's defensive prowess.


“We’re real big about the history and tradition of North Meck. I probably had over 100 players out there in the stands. I had kids, or grown men now, from my first team. They’re all out there. They’re still back supporting us all the time. You can’t get that everywhere. It’s special. We won that thing, but it was special for those guys out there, some who didn’t get the opportunity to. ... It isn’t for everyone, but the kids that buy into the history and tradition of North Meck, they tend to be successful.” — North Meck coach Duane Lewis


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