Coach Johnny Thomas has his Eastern Randolph team in the Class 1-A state final. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)
The coaches for the two teams in the Class 1-A state championship game for boys’ basketball own a common background.
Johnny Thomas of Eastern Randolph and Anthony Atkinson Jr. of Wilson Prep both played for the Harlem Globetrotters.
Eastern Randolph is going for the school’s first state championship in basketball when it plays Wilson Prep on Saturday afternoon.
The state final is scheduled for noon at Reynolds Coliseum on the North Carolina State campus in Raleigh.
The only previous appearance in a state final for either team came in 2021. That’s when Wilson Prep won the crown.
Atkinson was the coach then as well for the Tigers (27-7). Thomas is in his first season with Eastern Randolph (29-2).
Atkinson made the winning shot in Barton College’s victory in the 2007 NCAA Division II national championship game.