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Winning a state championship is the only thing on the minds of Johnell Davis and Triyonte Lomax.

21st Century’s senior guards don’t have any interest in preseason clichés or keeping their ultimate goal in house. They have their sights set on Indianapolis and are confident that their talent and leadership can give the Cougars a shot at winning their first state title in school history.

“I feel great about this season,” Davis said. “We have a great team. We have a lot of seniors on the team this year, and we feel like we can be even better.”

Davis is on pace to become 21st Century’s all-time leading scorer and signed his national letter of intent Nov. 15 to officially commit to Florida Atlantic. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged a team-high 25.0 points, a team-high 10.1 rebounds, a team-high 3.4 assists and 3.2 steals per game last season and has nearly doubled his scoring average since his freshman campaign (12.9 ppg).

After solidifying his college decision, the senior said he is eager to prove that his Division I scholarship was earned and not given. As one of the top players in the Region, Davis is familiar with opposing teams doing everything they can to stop him, and so far it hasn’t worked. Despite facing a variety of defensive schemes last season, he still shot 52.7% from the field and notched nine 30-point games.

One reason why Davis has remained so effective is because Lomax makes a conscious effort to feed him the ball. The Cougars’ starting backcourt has built a strong relationship on and off of the court over the years, and their chemistry is evident. While Davis continues to show off his scoring ability, Lomax serves as 21st Century's floor general.

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“I feel like a lot of people take notice of Johnell, but they don’t see the hard work that I put in, too,” Lomax said. “I play defense, get my team involved and score when I have to. I’m just trying to be an all-around leader.”

Last season, Lomax averaged 14.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 steals and a team-high 4.5 assists per game. The 5-9 guard had four 20-point games and three 10-assist games, including double-doubles against Westville and Whiting.

Cougars coach Rodney Williams believes Lomax is one of the most underrated players in the Region and added that the team wouldn’t be nearly as successful without him. He also joked about how the senior isn't too fond of being labeled by his position on the court.

“He’s been huge since he’s been here, but one thing he doesn’t like for me to call him is a point guard,” Williams said with a laugh. “But when he has the ball in his hands, we feel very confident that he’s going to make the right decision. If he’s not the best, he’s definitely one of the top point guards in our area.”

21st Century has won four straight sectional championships and claimed back-to-back regional crowns in 2016 and 2017, but Davis and Lomax aren’t holding onto the past. In their final prep campaign, they want to make their hometown proud by taking a trip down I-65 to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“We proved ourselves last year, but we can prove it some more this year,” Davis said. “We just want to get a state title.”

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Lake County Sports Reporter

James Boyd is the Lake County prep sports reporter for The Times. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a proud native of Romeoville, Illinois. Before anything else, his main goal in life is to spread love and light.