Trinity made its usual, casual walk onto the court for warm-ups Wednesday night.
“We started it at the middle of last season,” senior Claire Wilder said. “We just wanted to do something different, and we’ve never seen anyone do that. We feel kind of intimidating because no one expects it.”
Then the No. 7-ranked Wildcats sprinted out the gate in beating Sipsey Valley, 66-54, in the Class 3A Central Regional semifinals at the Acadome. Trinity opened the game with a 12-0 run.
“We’ve always been kind of unexpected,” junior Anna Lee Curles said. “Nobody thinks we’re good.”
Trinity (25-2) will play Greensboro (24-4) in Friday’s regional final at 3:40 p.m. The Raiders (24-4) beat defending regional champion Midfield, 74-64, in the first semifinal game.
Senior Malesha Williams scored 45 points on 14-of-26 shooting to lead unranked Greensboro.
“We’re not going to stop her,” Trinity coach Blake Smith said. “I think it’s just about trying to slow her down just a little bit, but keeping other people from beating us.”
The No. 9 Patriots (18-9) had won nine straight regional titles before falling to Greensboro. Last season, Trinity lost to Midfield in the regional final after beating Greensboro in the semifinals.
“We were very fortunate to get out of there,” said Smith about last year’s win against Greensboro. “I’m sure Greensboro is looking forward to getting after us.”
Trinity’s fast start Wednesday can be greatly attributed to the Wildcats beating Sipsey Valley (21-7) down the floor. Trinity threw over the top of the Bears to score transition baskets.
“We’re faster than what people think we are,” Smith said. “Our girls come out and just look like normal girls, and they come out and get after you. It catches people by surprise.”
This was Sipsey Valley’s first-ever trip to a regional as the school first opened in 2010-11.
“Experience versus inexperience,” Bears coach Tausha Knight said. “That’s what it was.”
Senior forward Leeanne Phillips scored five of Trinity’s opening 12 points. The Wildcats led 35-21 at the break as Curles scored 10 of her game-high 14 points in the first half.
“She works hard and it came to fruition tonight,” Smith said. “It was just fun to watch.”
Wilder also finished with 14 points as Trinity had five players reach double figures. Senior Janie Hampton scored 13, Phillips added 12 and junior Dawson Williams chipped in 11.
Trinity led by as many as 18 points in the second half. Sipsey Valley cut the deficit to 11 in the fourth, but Wilder scored consecutive baskets on breakaways to spark an 8-2 Trinity spurt.
Curles scored the remaining four points of the spurt to give the Wildcats a 57-40 lead with 5:23 left. The run came after Smith called a timeout.
“I said so much (during the timeout), I have no idea, but I think it revolved around you all have played too hard to get lackadaisical,” Smith said.