Last year’s wide-eyed nervousness turned into this year’s steely resolve for the Sipsey Valley girls basketball team.
The Bears, who made their regional debut and lost in last year’s semifinals, made this year’s trip a bit more pleasant.
After a 52-36 victory over Childersburg in Monday’s Class 4A Central Regional semifinals, Sipsey will play Munford at 1 p.m. Thursday in the finals.
“Last year helped us tremendously,” Sipsey coach Jerome Elliott said. “There’s no substitute for being here.
“Last year, we had never experienced a venue like this. This year, we were more prepared.”
The Bears (29-4) took inspiration from their 66-54 loss to Trinity in last year’s semifinals.
They also took relaxation. The Acadome was no mystery. The regional was nothing new.
“Nobody was nervous from the beginning this year,” guard Charity Brown said.
Queen Ford totaled 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting and grabbed 15 rebounds, including 11 offensive. Brown had 13 points.
“I think we worked harder than we did last year,” Ford said. “It helped our confidence.”
Ford, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, showed her desire last summer, Elliott said. She was a regular in the gym, so much they called Elliott for night sessions. So was Brown.
“If I had to measure (Ford’s development) in miles, I’d say here to the moon or maybe to the sun, compared to how she was last year,” Elliott said.
Tariah Reynolds had 12 points and Brittany Keith 13 rebounds for Childersburg (24-6).
Munford 53, Montevallo 49
Kierra Groce scored 23 points, 15 in the second half, on 8-of-12 shooting to lead the Lions (18-8).
Kedra Curtis and Victoria Mitchell added 11 each for Munford, which shot 52 percent in the second half after a 3-for-17 first half.
Lauryn Lilly had 15 points and Isabel Gallo 11 for the Bulldogs (23-8), who led 31-11 late in the second quarter.