By Marty Gordon
Both the Radford and Auburn boys’ basketball teams will play in their respective state championship games with Radford facing John Marshall, the no.-1 ranked team in Class 2. Auburn will play underdog Washington and Lee.
The John Marshall Justices are 21-4 overall including a 44-point win over Greensville County in the Region 2A Championship game.
Auburn will seek back-to-back state titles. Washington and Lee beat Lancaster in the semifinals to reach the title game.
John Marshall can go big with a front line of 6-10, 6-7, and 6-6 or can go completely with a five-guard offense.
Sophomore Damon “Lil’ Redd” Thompson and senior Reginald Robinson bring a lot of quickness to the backcourt with the Justices going at least 10 deep.
On a team of stars, none shines brighter than 6-foot-6 junior Dennis Parker, Jr. Already a top national college recruit, he can play point guard or move to center. He already carries scholarship offers from LSU, NC State, Texas A&M, the University of Mississippi, and VCU.
Radford should also expect to see a lot of 6-10 Tyler Mason and 6-7 Malachi Dark.
After dropping from Class 3, John Marshall has dominated state hoops in the lower enrollment classification in recent years. The Justices won state titles in 2014, defeating George Wythe-Wytheville 74- 56; in 2018, defeating Western Albemarle 63-42; and in 2020, defeating Gate City 75-57.
W&L (15-7) shocked Lancaster 59-57 to advance to the state championship matchup with Auburn. Lancaster had beaten W&L three previous times including a 74-42 romp in the Region 1A championship game.
The game marks Washington & Lee’s first appearance in the state finals since 1998 when the Eagles defeated John S. Battle 68-62 to claim the championship.