Northview player emerges from tragedy to win district title

High School Preps

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Northview junior Aidan Walker says his buzzer-beater in triple overtime Friday got some help from above.

His father Jeremy Walker died suddenly three weeks ago after suffering a heart attack in the middle of the night. He was 47.

“I was in shock most of that day,” Aidan Walker recalled. “It didn’t seem like a reality. I was just waiting to wake up.”

He said his dad was his biggest fan. Their shared passion for basketball is what kept him on the court. He decided he wanted to finish out the season to make his father proud.

“Our first practice back, he was there, ready to go,” Northview boys basketball coach Mike Kapustka said Sunday. “I think he uses it as his sanctuary. That’s his source of support with his friends and his teammates, and the team has just been awesome.”

On Friday, the Wildcats were in a tough battle with the district title on the line. Playing Forest Hills Northern, who was undefeated and had already beaten them twice this season, they sank a three-pointer at the end of regulation to push the game into overtime. The game stretched into a second overtime, then a third.

As the clock ticked down, Northview’s last-second shot fell short, but Walker was there, sinking a putback with no time left and lifting the Wildcats to a 76-75 win.

“As soon as the basket went in, I thought of him,” he said.

The crowd went crazy as Walker’s teammates crushed him in a hug. They were district champs.

When asked if he thought his dad gave the ball some help to get through the hoop, Walker said, “Yeah, I think he did a little bit.”

Northview will next play Hudsonville in a regional semifinal Tuesday.

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