SUMTER - Heathwood Hall breezed by Wilson Hall 58-40 Friday at the Sumter Exhibition center to advance to the SCISA Class 3A state boys basketball championship game for the first time.
The Highlanders (23-5) take on four-time defending champion Pinewood Prep Saturday night at 7:30
"Our goal all along has been to get to the championship game, and now we want to try and win it," Heathwood coach Jeff Whalen said.
"Pinewood's a heck of a team, but we're excited to have the chance to win a state championship. This is a great group of kids, and I know they're going to give it every they have."
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Mac Whalen's 19 points led a balanced Highlanders offensive performance that featured double-figure production from Corey Littlejohn and unsung senior Joseph English.
Whalen was 5-for-7 from the field (2-for-2 from 3-point range) and 7-for-9 at the free throw line. Littlejohn had 13 points and 17 rebounds. English had a perfect shooting night - 5-for-5 from the floor, 2-2 at the line.
"We played really well tonight; everybody contributed in every way," Littlejohn said.
"I think we have a good shot (against Pinewood) because we're playing our best basketball right now. We're all looking forward to the challenge."
The Highlanders hit four of its first five shots while bolting to a 9-0 lead. The advantage grew to 16-3 before Heathwood started turning the ball over, allowing Wilson Hall to close within 22-19 at the 3:43 mark of the second quarter. The Highlanders built the lead back to 28-20 by halftime, and put the Barons away in the third quarter with a 15-8 run on 6-for-6 shooting from the floor.
"The kids like to get our and run the floor, but we're at our best when we're patient, spread the floor and run the offense," Whalen said.
"We tried to rush things when we got the early lead, but we settled down and got back into the flow, especially in the third quarter."
Heathwood's crisp ball movement, 17 turnovers aside, produced a 21-for-37 shooting performance.
On the other hand, Wilson Hall (24-5) couldn't find the range, finishing 17-for 50 from the field. Claude Lathan led the Barons with 13 points.
HH: James 8, Mac Whalen 19, Joseph English 12, Morgan Whalen 6, Corey Littlejohn 13, Whittaker 1, Hickman 1. WH: Wesley Talley 11, Claude Lathan 13, Glenn 5, Will Duffy 11.