The Atlanta Journal-Constitution |

Private finals set, public semis today

The private finals are set. The public school finals will be settled today. Here’s a look:

PRIVATE BOYS FINAL No. 4 St. Francis vs. No. 6 Aquinas, March 9, 4 p.m., at Georgia Tech

St. Francis (27-3) dominated No. 8 Holy Innocents’ in the semifinal, 83-54, as four Knights – Dwon Odom (20 points, four assists, two steals), Sam Hines (16 points, six rebounds, four assists, four blocks), Chase Ellis (14 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) and CJ Riley (12 points, three steals) – all scored in double figures … St. Francis has been to six straight Final Fours, and now three finals, winning championships in 2014 and 2015 … Aquinas (28-5) upset No. 2 Eagle’s Landing Christian, 47-41, in the other semifinal … The Irish, a senior-laden team, are in the finals for the first time in school history.

PRIVATE GIRLS FINAL No. 1 Holy Innocents’ vs. No. 6 Wesleyan, March 9, 2 p.m., at Georgia Tech 

Both teams easily dispatched of their semifinal opponents, en route to their fourth meeting this season. Holy Innocents’ (30-1) downed No. 4 Stratford Academy, 51-32, while Wesleyan (26-4), the defending state champions, handled No. 2 St. Francis, 71-49 … Holy Innocents’ lone loss of the season came in November at the hands of Class AAAAA semifinalist Buford (54-47) … The Bears, led by UGA signee Kaila Hubbard, has beaten Wesleyan in each of the teams’ three meetings this season, twice in the regular season (48-34 and 69-49) and in the Region 5 championship game (54-47) … In her 18th season as head coach, Jan Azar has led Wesleyan to 12 state titles (six in Class AA) and failed to reach at least the Final Four just once (2003) … Holy Innocents, the 2016 state champions in Class AA, has been to at least the quarterfinals for six consecutive seasons.

PUBLIC BOYS SEMIFINALS Saturday at Valdosta State

No. 1 Calhoun County vs. No. 4 Montgomery County, 4 p.m.Calhoun County (28-2) has lost just two games of the 30 the Cougars have played this season. One of them was to Montgomery County (26-3), 94-91, in overtime back on Dec. 20. Since that loss, Calhoun County has won 18 straight, while Montgomery County has gone 18-2 … Calhoun County finished as the runner-up last year, losing to Wilkinson County, 66-53, in the finals … The Cougars won the title in 2015 … Montgomery County is in the Final Four for the first time since 2003. The Eagles bowed out in the quarterfinals last season.

No. 2 Central-Talbotton vs. No. 3 Wilkinson County, 8 p.m.Central (23-2) is in the semifinals for the first time since 1990, when the Hawks went on to win the state title … Central is led by a trio of senior guards – Javaris Copeland (14 points, four rebounds per game), ZyTavian Hill (19 ppg, 7 rpg) and JaQavius Smith (15 ppg, 3 rpg) … Wilkinson County has won a state title five of the last seven seasons. Since Class A was split for the playoff, public and private, the Warriors have won four out of the five public championships, including the last two.

PUBLIC GIRLS SEMIFINALS Saturday at Valdosta State

No. 1 Telfair County vs. No. 4 Greenville, 2 p.m.Telfair County has been on an upward trajectory since Shalonda Troupe took over the program in 2013. The Trojans are 27-2 and have won the Region 2 title two consecutive seasons … This is Telfair County’s first trip to the semifinals since 1969 … The Trojans are led by junior India Wells (20 points per game), who is also a standout softball player … Greenville (26-2) is in the semis for the third time since 2014 but is looking for its first finals appearance and state title … The Patriots are led by the state’s leading scorer, Brittany Davis, a Mississippi State signee.

No. 2 Terrell County vs. No. 3 Marion County, 6 p.m.After a five-year absence from the post season (2010-2014), Terrell County (25-4) has now been in the playoffs four straight years … The Greenwave bowed out in the Sweet 16 last season, but lost to Turner County in the finals in 2016 (55-38) and advanced to the Final Four in 2015 … Marion County (25-4) is having its best season in school history … Head coach Fran McPherson took over the program three seasons ago and led the Eagles to the Sweet 16 in 2016, the Elite Eight last season and now the Final Four.

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