Without even saying anything, there is plenty of intrigue surrounding the rematch between The Burlington School and Northwood Temple for the 2A championship. These two teams met last year in the NCISAA 1A state title. After moving up classifications, they meet again. Only 23-years old, Ryan Bernardi is in his third full season as a head coach and second at The Burlington School. His success has been undeniably impressive and already led to Bernardi being regarded as one of the top coaches in North Carolina. That being said, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have someone like Jamarii Thomas at the helm. Guys like Isaiah Escobar, Ryan Roberts, Kuluel Mading, Zion Walker all returned, improved, and expanded their respective roles. Meanwhile, newcomers like Jakel Powell, Kobe George, and Shane Peterson have been major additions. The Spartans have no shortage of talent, but the same is true regarding their opponent…

On the other side, James Strong and Northwood Temple have proven themselves time and again when the stage is set and the lights are at their brightest. Not only are they the returning champs, but they basically brought back their entire roster (minus Reggie Raynor and Jay Hickman) and seem even stronger than before. Jaquantae Harris has a clean bill of health and continues to lead the change, but newcomers Brady Rankin and Julian Williams have been equally as vital to the Eagles’ success. Manny Sepulveda is a heady floor general and next-level player (like the previous trio) while guys like Yohann Axel-Sam and Angel Dean excel at the dirty work. Add in shooting from Amare Bethel, and it’s easy to see why this team is back in a position to win a championship. Given the talent and previous battle, expect this contest to be an incredible battle.