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February 27, 2013

Chris Walker leads Hamilton County to first state title

Mission accomplished for Chris Walker and the Holmes County Blue Devils.

Walker, a McDonald's All-American and University of Florida signee, impressed again at the Lakeland Center with 30 points, 15 rebounds and 7 blocks as Holmes County defeated West Gadsden, 59-40, in the Class 1A Final.

It was the first-ever boys' basketball state title for Holmes County (20-8), and their 6-foot-10 big man Walker was a major reason why.

But the rest of the Blue Devils team stepped up as well in the title game.

Jacky Miles added nine points and eight rebounds and seniors Jonathan Williams and Clayton Keen chipped in seven points apiece for the Blue Devils.

And when Walker went out with his third foul early in the third quarter, Holmes County actually extended its lead by outscoring West Gadsden, 13-3. Holmes County led at the half 25-24.

"I'm sure people at home are ecstatic," Holmes County coach Poe Walker said. "There will be lot of celebrating back in Holmes County tonight."

Charis Fitzgerald led the Panthers (25-10) with 14 points, and leading scorer Brandon Shingles, was held to only two points and no field goals.

But this game was about Walker and Holmes County, which knocked off the top three teams in the state during the postseason.

"This took four years to get," Walker said. "It was nice to see my team enjoy this and it was nice to win a state title in my final high school game."

There should be plenty more to come for Walker at UF. But for one more day he could feel like a high school kid and celebrate a state title.

All of Holmes County can celebrate as well.



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