TRURO – Tyler Johnson considers himself lucky.
Most student athletes never get the experience of winning a provincial championship. He's won two. Adding to the experience is The Falls resident won one in his senior year Saturday as his North Colchester Mustangs defeated Oxford 71-57 in the Division 4 boys basketball final for their second crown in three years at Cabot High in Neil's Harbour, Cape Breton.
"It was pretty emotional," the 17-year-old guard said. "Not many people get to win one, especially in their final year."
Johnson pumped in 29 points to lead his Mustangs in the final while Channing Hines chipped in 22.
North Colchester used an 85-63 win over Lockeport in the semifinal to get to the final after opening the tournament with a 65-31 victory over the hosts.
The Mustangs girls team was eliminated in Lockeport after losses to Oxford and Sacred Heart.
The Mustangs boasted experience throughout their roster with nine Grade 12 players on the team who, after winning in 2009, were knocked out in the semifinal last year.
"Sometimes you need to lose before you can win," said head coach Scott Armstrong. "I think having all that senior leadership this year was the difference."
"We just kept reminding ourselves what it felt like and we didn't want that feeling again," Johnson said. "So we just kept saying let's go out there and win this."
Johnson said the Mustangs won with a team effort.
"We just worked as a team," he said. "We had a lot of help from our Grade 10 starters and we had a balanced attack. We all did our jobs."