Both teams rolled to easy victories in sectional finals Friday night at the Waite Field House, with Whitmer's Panthers (20-1) blowing past neighborhood rival Start 61-30, and Central (16-4) rolling to a 66-44 win over Southview.
Whitmer topped Central in league play and again in the Feb. 22 CL semifinals.
The 10th-ranked Panthers, who edged Start 69-66 in their CL opener back on Dec. 10, eliminated any drama early this time around.
Click here to see a Whitmer/Start photo gallery.
"I was very impressed with us defensively," Whitmer coach Bruce Smith said. "The first time we played them we gave them 66. They had 30 tonight. "They've added Tony Mays and that obviously made them more dangerous, and I was concerned about their athleticism. But our kids came to play."
Whitmer closed the first quarter with a 13-2 run to take a 17-6 advantage to the second period against the Spartans, who were playing without head coach Gil Guerrero on the bench.
Senior guard Ben Syroka, whose sterling play in the CL playoffs helped lift Whitmer to the championship, topped the Panthers with 15 points.
Junior Chris Wormley had 12 points and seven rebounds for Whitmer, senior Franklin Lindsey had 11 points, and sophomore standout Nigel Hayes added nine.
"We knew Start picked us in the tournament bracket," Syroka said. "They wanted us and they thought they could beat us. That really motivated us all week in practice.
"We wanted to come out and try to hit 'em early, and that's what we did. We're a very unselfish team and we try to get the ball to the open guy. We went through a shooting slump for about 10 or 11 games, but our shooting is really coming around now in the postseason."
Whitmer was 22-of-38 (58 percent) from the field, including 5-of-9 on 3-pointers, and 12-of-22 from the line. The Panthers dominated Start 35-16 on the boards. The Spartans were 12-of-39 from the field and 3-of-6 from the line.
Junior guard DeMond Crisp paced Start with eight points and senior Maurice Taylor added seven.
"They're used to a certain person calling the signals for 18 games, so it was distracting for them hearing a different voice," said Start assistant coach Terron Gillespie, who was filling in for Guerrero. "Under the circumstances, the kids understood and, for the most part, most of them kept fighting.
"What we had trouble with was getting stops, and then turning stops into points. Once they jumped out to that lead, a couple guys kind of panicked and we didn't take our time and try to chip away at the lead. They wanted to get it back all at once."
Irish senior guard Drew Lehman, who led all scorers with 27 points, started strong by scoring 13 of Central's 15 first quarter points. But the Irish hit a lull and Southview remained close.
Down 15-10 after one quarter and 24-19 at halftime, the Cougars were still within striking distance (down 28-22) after Jordan Hunt converted a three-point play with 5:18 left in the third quarter.
But Central's Jay Marquette drove for a layup 37 seconds later to spark a 12-2 surge, and the Irish took a 45-29 lead to the fourth quarter.
"We started out good and then we were kind of sputtering around a little bit and really couldn't find ourselves," Central coach Jim Welling said.
Click here to see a photo gallery of the Central Catholic/Southview game.
"We started launching a lot of 3-pointers and stopped being aggressive and getting the ball to the rim.
"But we found ourselves in the second half and played a little bit better."
Senior Dareon Jones had 17 points for Central, and Marquette added 10. Pinckney topped Southview with 12 points.
"I really can't tell you what I thought went wrong during that stretch," Southview coach Marc Jump said.
"Obviously we must have not been moving our feet, and obviously Central was moving their feet.
"We just didn't get it done. They were driving the ball right done our throat to the rim."