No, it was not a dream. For the first time in school history the Garner Trojans boy’s basketball team took home the title and can now call themselves the best in the state.
Garner won for the 28th time in 29 tries this season and completed its run to the first state boys basketball championship in school history with a 70-64 victory over Charlotte Ardrey Kell in the NCHSAA 4A Finals before a crowd estimated by some at 6,000 Saturday night in the Smith Center in Chapel Hill.
It wasn’t easy, but the Trojans sure made it look that way. The Knights had been riding a 27-game winning streak before they were struck down by the Trojans, who led for all but nine seconds of the game.
Garner senior point guard Julius Barnes was named the game’s MVP and sophomore Thomas Allen was the Trojans’ Most Outstanding Performer award winner.
The game was played before a raucous, mainly Garner-based crowd. After the post-championship dog pile at midcourt, Garner’s players made a point to celebrate with their student cheering section, numbering in the hundreds, which stood and cheered the entire night.
Garner was led by alum Eddie Gray, who was hoisted on two of his players shoulders’ during the post-game championship trophy celebration.
The state championship is Garner’s fourth in school history. The 2014-15 boys basketball team joins the 1978 baseball and girls basketball teams and the 1987 football team as the only Trojan squads to achieve their sport’s pinnacle achievement.