By Marty Gordon
Radford High School’s boys basketball team is headed back to tonight’s (March 11) state championship, and they will have their hands full against an undefeated John Marshall squad that is ranked number one in the country.
JM is only a Class 2 school but has dominated opponents this year with only three wins by fewer than 40 points. The Justices have also scored 100 points 11 times this season including last week’s 112-49 win over Brunswick.
Radford is coming off a 17-point comeback that ended in an overtime win over Floyd this past Monday.
Radford High’s Rick Cormany is the winningest active coach in the commonwealth, but for Radford to win, he will have to figure out how to slow down an offense that definitely knows how to score.
JM did have three close games this season, all in big invitational tournaments, including 69-62 over Dematha and 65-53 over Greensboro Day School. For the season, the Justices outscored their opponents 2,307 to 1,335.
Three players are shooting 38 percent or better from behind the three-point arc. 6-8 freshman Latrell Almond had 83 blocks this season to go with 214 rebounds. His average is 3.5 blocks and nine rebounds per game.
The school is located in downtown Richmond, which means tonight’s (Saturday’s) championship game will be a home one for JM, which has won three titles in the past five years. Of course, JM dropped from Class 4 to Class 2 over the past seven years.
Last year, JM was 22-4 and beat Radford for the trophy by an 82-42 score. In 2019-20, JM downed Gate City for another championship.
Facts about John Marshall:
- The school has 496 students, which places them in Class 2.
- John Marshall had 15 dunks and 16 three-pointers in the team’s defeat of Brunswick.
- Coach Ty White helps run one of the state’s popular AAU programs.
- N.C. State commit 6-4 Dennis Parker averages 20 points per game with the team going 10 deep on the bench.
- As a team, John Marshall averages 62 percent shooting from the field this season.
- In the region championship, John Marshall forced 23 turnovers. In most of their big wins, they have double figure takeaways.
Radford and John Marshall will square off at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Virginia Commonwealth University basketball arena. Those unable to attend the game can listen to it on BobcatsLive or watch on the NFHS.com website.