Fort Valley State University will play host to the AAAA State Semifinals on Friday afternoon and evening. All four teams playing in this bracket were 1-seeds coming off winning their region championship, which should make for two highly competitive games.
WOODWARD ACADEMY VS DENMARK – FRIDAY 4:00 PM
Both Woodward Academy and Denmark are coming off highly emotional quarterfinal victories earlier this week with Woodward Academy knocking off Sandy Creek on a last-second layup and Denmark pulling out a three-point road victory. There is no reason to think this one will get any easier for these battle-tested teams. Woodward Academy comes in with the headliner of this match-up, five-star center Walker Kessler. The North Carolina signee and McDonald’s All-American is coming off a 33-point, 13-rebound performance on Wednesday night. He’s been one of the most dominant big men in Georgia in the last several years, but he’s flanked by some talented players. Unsigned senior point guard Michael Whitmore is a feisty on-ball defender who runs his team like an extension of the coach. Senior guard and Davidson signee Emory Lanier and junior wing Will Richard form a tough perimeter duo that make the War Eagles a tough out. Denmark junior point guard Sutton Smith is another tough floor general that can score and do all the little things needed to win. Sophomore wing Robert Cowherd (Pictured) is one of the top prospects in the state’s 2022 class and can put up big numbers in a hurry. Senior big man Adonnis Tolbert has a big test in front of him trying to contain Kessler, but just might be up to the task.
ST. PIUS VS CROSS – FRIDAY 8:00 PM
St. Pius has been down this road before under head coach Aaron Parr. The Golden Lions made two trips to the state championship in a row only to suffer heartbreak, but they are back this year aiming to cut down the nets. Don’t sleep on Cross Creek’s group out of Augusta though. The Razorbacks come in with a 24-6 overall record and have a knack for pulling out close games. They have won their three games in the state tournament by a combined 12 points. Senior wing Kobe Stewart, who signed with Presbyterian, has had a terrific senior year for Cross Creek and could be a match-up problem for St. Pius.