The NCAA Tournament will have a Lewis County connection this year.
Zach Walton, a 2015 Morton High School graduate, helped Drexel to a 63-56 win over Elon in the Colonial Athletic Association championship game in Harrisburg, Va., Tuesday night.
The win put the Dragons in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996.
“This is a moment you dream of as a kid,” Walton told the Philadelphia Inquirer afterwards. “From the beginning of the season we set a goal out to go to the CAA championship and win it and end up in the NCAA Tournament.”
Walton scored eight points with six rebounds, including a long three-pointer at the halftime buzzer that put Drexel up 32-27 at the break.
The Dragons were the No. 6 seed heading into the CAA tournament. They beat No. 3 Charleston in the quarterfinals, 80-75, with Walton going 5 of 6 from long range for 17 points. Drexel then topped No. 2 Northeastern, 74-67, in the semifinals, with Walton scoring a team-high 15 points. His three-game run landed him on the All-CAA tournament team.
Walton, a grad student forward, is averaging 10.6 points and 3.9 rebounds a game this season.
He was a key piece in Morton-White Pass’ back-to-back 2B state basketball championships in 2014 and 2015. The Timberwolves didn’t lose a game during his junior or senior season, and he was the WIBCA’s 2B Player of the Year as a senior.
After high school he played two seasons for Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, averaging 20.8 points and 9.4 rebounds a game as a sophomore.
He played just seven games for Drexel as a junior in 2018-19 due to an injury. As a redshirt junior last year he was third on the team in scoring with 12.2 points a game, and scored a career-high 32 points on 12 of 17 shooting, with six three-pointers, against Bryant.
Drexel (11-7) will learn its first-round NCAA Tournament game’s date, time and site during the Selection Sunday program on March 14.