Whitefield Academy (27-3) used a big first-quarter run to take control of the game and advance to a semifinal battle with Lanier County.
It will be the fourth consecutive trip to the final four for Whitefield, which won the state title in 2009, finished runner-up in ’10 and lost in the semis last year. It is the eighth time in the program’s 12-year history that the Wolfpack have made it that far.
“It’s a great accomplishment to go back to the final four,” Whitefield Academy coach Tyrone Johnson said.
“But, there’s no better way to say it than I want to win. I mean, I understand the concept that you’ve got to go to the dance to be able to dance. But, again, I want to win it.”
Whitefield did struggle a little more than it did in its first two state tournament games, when it beat Hebron Christian 65-13 in the first round and St. Francis 72-30 in the second round, as the Wolfpack were not able to sustain the momentum from its first-quarter run.
Georgia signee Kenny Gaines scored 30 points, while Lorenzo Carter added 14 points to lead the way for Whitefield.
Michael Scott scored 24 points, while Ahmed Hill added 21 points for Aquinas (23-7), the Region 7-A runner-up.
Whitefield continued its momentum through the early part of the second quarter and led 42-28 at halftime.
Aquinas cut the Whitefield advantage to single digits in the fourth quarter.
That’s as close as Aquinas would get as Whitefield would later go on a 10-0 run to pull away for good.