2A Preview: Thomasville vs. North Johnston

When Thomasville (27-2) takes the court Saturday in Chapel Hill, a lot of history lies in the balance.

A victory over North Johnston (21-7) would give the Bulldogs their fourth boys' basketball title in eight years, and – with a little help from their girl counter parts – Thomasville could become the first school in NCHSAA history to win championships in football, and boys and girls basketball in the same year.

"We know they're a good program, but we can't control the past," said North Johnston head coach Derrick Johnson. "This team is this year. What we're doing is controlling things we can control that is getting our team as prepared as possible for Saturday."

Another thing North Johnston hopes to control is a very balanced offense. Despite averaging over 71 points a game, Thomasville doesn't have a player scoring over 13 ppg. However, the trio of guards Everett House (12.3 ppg, 4.7 apg) and Tavarius Henderson (11.5 ppg, 3.2 apg) and center Brandon Taylor (10.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg) provide the Bulldogs with senior leadership.

The Panthers are creating history themselves. North Johnston is appearing in their first ever boys basketball championship game this Saturday.

Regardless, it's all business for the Panthers, who plan to approach the game like it was any other.

"We're taking the same approach that we've taken all year," said Johnson. "We're going to have our same practices just like we did to get ready for the regionals and we'll do the same thing this week."

Point guard Jake LoMonaco, the Eastern Regional MVP, is the key player for the Panthers as he provides scoring and creates scoring opportunities for his teammates. Swingman Brandon Sanders leads the team in rebounds, while center Willie Smith provides inside defense.

No matter who comes out with the victory Saturday, the one guarantee is history will be made in one form or the other.


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