Everything was working for Woodland, which scored with ease and locked down the Wolves. Rome scored just one point in the final quarter, while Woodland added 13 in providing the final margin.
Wildcats coach Mike Tobin said his team looked to the defensive side of the ball in preparing for the Wolves.
"I think we've really been trying to focus, obviously, on defense, and we spent a lot of time [the] last couple of days -- on Saturday and Monday -- defensively trying to prepare for them. That's the best our defense has looked, probably, in years," Tobin said.
Woodland allowed Rome to eclipse the 10-point mark in a quarter just once in the game -- the third quarter -- and that defensive intensity helped fuel the Wildcats' ability to run all night.
"We've always been that way. We always want to try to run and get easy baskets," Tobin explained. "We were getting frustrated early on 'cause a couple of times we got rebounds and didn't look down the floor -- we were trying to protect the ball instead of looking down the floor. I think, obviously, anytime you get easy baskets out of transition, that's what we're trying to do."
The Wildcats looked to push the pace early on, even if results didn't favor the frenetic tempo at first. Woodland turned the ball over three times at the onset, but continued to attack the basket. Greg Murphy made three trips to the free-throw line, knocking down two shots en route to a 6-point first quarter.
Corey Tobin also buoyed Woodland in the first, missing from deep on his first attempt before scoring five points in a row for the Wildcats -- including a 3-pointer that pushed his team's lead to 14-6.
Murphy ended Woodland's scoring for the quarter with a turnaround jumper, drawing a foul but missing the and-1 free throw as the Wildcats led 16-6 at the end of the first.
Woodland established control of the game in the second, living in the paint and continuing to get to the free-throw line -- not to mention a textbook effort on defense.
Xavier Niblet increased the Wildcats' lead with 6 points to start the second, and Woodland held a 22-9 advantage after Rome's Veshawn Bell hit a free throw with 5:22 remaining in the half.
Bell's point would be the last for the Wolves for nearly 5 minutes as the Wildcats forced outside shots and limited Rome to one look at the basket.
Woodland netted 15 straight points before Demarcus Johnson's pair of shots from the foul line made it 37-11. Johnson then got a lay-in to bring the first-half tally to 37-13.
Mike Tobin credited his guys for executing something they work in practice, which led to a 9-for-14 effort from the free-throw line in the first half.
"If you can dribble penetrate, you got a better chance of getting to the free-throw line," Tobin added. "Most of our guys do a good job of attacking."
Seven players scored for the Wildcats in the first half, led by R.J. Williams and Niblet, who both had 8 points. Niblet came off the bench to boost Woodland's attack, further symbolizing the kind of balance the Wildcats have displayed all season.
"The last 3 or 4 minutes of that second quarter, we had three of our starters sitting," Tobin pointed out. "It kind of proves the point about how strong we are as far as if one or two or three of our starters gotta sit. We don't lose that much. In fact, I think tonight we gained some things offensively with those guys in the game."
Intermission couldn't slow the Wildcats' offensive momentum. Woodland was well on its way to another big-scoring quarter at the top of the third, with three of its initial field goals coming from beyond the arc.
Corey Tobin had two of those 3s and later added another basket to give the Wildcats a 53-17 lead.
Murphy's two-handed dunk following an offensive rebound made it a 15-6 run for Woodland. The Wolves' Corey Jordan tried to ignite his team with back-to-back scores , but the Wildcats stopped that brief run just as cold as Chandler Royal did Matthew Scott -- who stole a Woodland pass and tried to flush it. Royal, however, chased Scott down, met him at the rim and gave Scott a staredown after his rejection.
The Wildcats had a comfortable cushion at 54-23 heading into the final 8 minutes.
Woodland scored 7 points to open up the fourth, including a steal and one-handed dunk from Tobin as the 3-point specialist flashed some hops.
Tobin led all scorers with 17 points, and other Wildcat contributors included Murphy, 14 points; Williams, 13; Niblet, 9; Tae Covington, 8; Deo Adams, 4; and Royal, 2.
Scott's 6 points led Rome while teammate Bell added 5.
The Wildcats had last played on Feb. 4, a 66-32 victory over South Forsyth to end the regular season. Mike Tobin admitted curiosity in seeing how his guys would come out.
"We were concerned about that, too, not playing in  days. We kind of had a scrimmage, an intrasquad scrimmage, tried to make it as game-like as possible, and guys had fun with that," he said. "I was definitely concerned about that, seeing if we'd be stale and Rome playing a game on Saturday, but obviously it didn't affect us negatively."
With the win, Woodland qualified for the state playoffs for the first time since 2005-06 season. Even still, the Wildcats -- who lost to Creekview in the region tournament quarterfinals last year -- were muted in their postgame celebration, understanding that there is still more to accomplish.
"The guys are fired up, but it's not like they're unbelievably overjoyed 'cause I really feel like they want to host a state tournament game and hopefully win the region tournament," Tobin said. "They're happy, but it's not like they're unbelievably excited."
Woodland plays Sequoyah on Friday in a game tournament semifinal slated to tip at 8:30 p.m. at Cass High. The Wildcats picked up a 52-38 home win against the Chiefs on Dec. 2 before beating Sequoyah 66-60 at its place on Jan. 20.
"Sequoyah's playing real well right now, and we got a lot of things to prepare for them, too. They do a lot of good things defensively," Tobin said of the Chiefs, who defeated Northwest Whitfield Tuesday to qualify for state. "Last time we played 'em there, we definitely should've lost. We were down six with about 2 minutes left and came back and beat 'em, so it should be a great game."