So much for the theory that it’s hard to keep beating the same team over and over.

Top-ranked Sandy Creek disproved that notion Friday afternoon when it defeated Cedar Grove for the fourth time this season - a 66-38 victory at the Macon Coliseum to win the Class 3A boys championship.

Sandy Creek won the first three meetings over Cedar Grove – 91-56 on Jan. 24, 71-48 on Feb. 10 and 76-52 in the Region 5 championship game on Feb. 16. Friday’s fourth and final triumph secured the program’s first state championship.

“Defense has been our identity and every single game, except the Etowah game, we’ve played unbelievable defense and it’s given us a chance to win,” Sandy Creek coach coach Jon-Michael Nickerson said.

The key in the championship was a relentless second period that saw the Patriots outscore the Saints 18-0 and take a commanding 31-14 lead into halftime. By shutting out Cedar Grove in the second quarter – the third time the Patriots blanked an opponent in a quarter this season -- Sandy Creek was able to overcome a four-point deficit and coast in the second half.

“We were trying to keep the same intensity that we have from the first quarter,” said Sandy Creek’s P.J. Green. “We always rely on our defense and we couldn’t let up. We had to keep our foot on the pedal. We stay in the gym and we’re always trying to get things perfect or close to perfect.”

Cedar Grove got some good looks in the decisive quarter, but went 0-for-8 from the floor and had six turnovers. Sandy Creek spread the wealth during the run, using the long-armed talent of Micah Smith and the driving ability of P.J. Green and Amari Brown to pull away.

“It was little rough start, but the coaches kept encouraging me and my teammates kept encouraging me,” Smith said. “All that hard work we put in paid off.”

Sandy Creek (26-6) was led by Smith, who scored 17 points, including a pair of rim-swinging dunks, with seven rebounds and three assists. Green, the region player of the year, scored 16, Vic Newsom scored 14 and Amari Brown had 10 points and eight rebounds.

Cedar Grove (20-10) was led by Emmanuel Green with 11 points and eight rebounds and Darius Reynolds with 10 points and eight rebounds.

“We want to win championships,” said Nickerson, who has had teams lose in the final and semifinal rounds. “That’s what we’ve talked about. We’ve heard talk about how Sandy Creek is talented but they’re not tough enough to get it done. We talked about that all year long.”

Sandy Creek (66): Vic Newsom 14, Jacobi Robinson 3, Micah Smith 17, Amari Brown 10, P.J. Green 16, Jaren Alexander, Jared White, Caleb Rowe, Jordan Alexander 2, Avohn Florence, Osakilo Okeke, Josh Hales, Kani Rashied-Henry 4, Novorro Elder, Amari Latimer.

Cedar Grove (38): Emmanuel Green 11, Elliott Colson Jr. 3, Jaylen Aside 2, Darius Reynolds 10, Jeremiah Hardaway 9, Cameron Ferguson 2, Derric Beasley, Laron Moss, Nathaniel Loyd 1.

Sandy Creek – 13-18-16-19 -- 66

Cedar Grove – 14-0-12-12-38