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Randleman’s TyShaun Goldston goes through Burns' Kamari Surratt on his way to the basket in a state playoff victory. Goldston headlines a talented bunch returning next year.     Eric Abernathy/Randolph Hub

Despite loss, the future looks bright for Tigers

RANDLEMAN — When Randleman High School boys varsity basketball coach Daniel Mitchell dissected his roster for this past season, he said he saw a lot of talent. But the majority of that talent was in their sophomore and junior class and he figured 2024-25 would be the year the Tigers made a lot of noise on the basketball court.


Well, that “lot of noise” came one year earlier than expected and Mitchell is hoping that all the experience gained and lessons learned from this past successful season will help the Tigers in their quest to create an even louder roar next year.


This year’s version of the Tigers was quite successful as RHS won the Piedmont Athletic Conference regular season and conference championships, losing only once to Trinity along the way. The Tigers, seeded No. 6 for the state 2-A playoffs, then defeated No. 27 Burns 93-69, No. 22 East Gaston 63-46 and No. 3 Newton-Conover 62-59 to reach the fourth round of the state 2-A playoffs before the season ended last Friday night with a 78-56 loss to No. 2 Salisbury, a team favored to win the state title.


In all, the Tigers finished 23-6.


“I really thought we were a year away, that we would be having all this success next season,” said Mitchell, who has a 183-108 record in 12 seasons at the helm, including an 89-45 record in conference play. “We had some seniors this year who contributed and we’re really going to miss Greg (Price). But we have a lot of players coming back and I thought next year would be the year.”


This year started out pedestrian as the Tigers were 3-3 after six games, including splitting a pair of games with Asheboro. Then things began to click.


A five-game winning streak was ended by Asheboro in the Sportstone.net Christmas Invitational before RHS went on a 10-game winning streak to clinch the PAC regular season title.


A 56-52 loss to Trinity in the final game of the regular season forced the Tigers to regroup for the PAC Tournament and upcoming state 2-A playoffs. They regrouped quite well with a 75-45 semifinal win over Southwestern Randolph before avenging their only PAC setback with a 69-47 win over Trinity for the tournament title.


“After we lost to Trinity, we took a few days off and we practiced a bit and the message from the coaches coming back those next two weeks was to play better,” Mitchell said. “We had some good practices in a row to get ready for Southwestern Randolph and Trinity (in the PAC Tournament). 


“We’ve done a good job of focusing on the game plan and then going out and carrying that game plan out.”


Then three straight playoff wins earned them a date with Salisbury, which is led by future Wake Forest player Juke Harris. The Tigers kept the high-scoring Hornets in check in the first half, trailing 33-30, but Salisbury had a big second half for a 78-56 win.


Junior Tyshaun Goldston had 22 points, sophomore Connor Cassidy had 14 and junior Chase Farlow had eight points, all players along with Ty Moton, John Kirkpatrick, Pacey Wagner and Jirah Price who should return next season. In all, six of their top seven leading scorers from this year return next season.


And if next year was truly supposed to be “that” season, Tigers fans are in for quite a run.