Homewood coach JoVanka Ward shrugged her shoulders, looked despondent and listened while three of her freshmen spoke.
There was Ajah Wayne talking about how the Patriots never get nervous. There was Tori Webb saying that she sometimes makes a mistake on purpose.
There was Hannah Barber ho-humming Homewood’s first regional championship because, well, it’s been the Patriots’ goal all season.
“They drive me crazy,” Ward said after Homewood’s 67-46 win over Selma in Wednesday’s Class 6A Central Regional finals.
“They’re unpredictable, but I love them to death,” Ward said. “They just don’t know what they’re capable of.”
Freshmen, they just don’t understand, Ward said.
Homewood (28-4), which had never won a regional game in five previous appearances, is in the state semifinals for the first time since 1992, before the regional format began.
The Patriots play Austin at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
“I’m not nervous. I’m being honest,” Webb said as Ward slumped a little more.
Added Wayne: “When we’re nervous, that’s when I feel that we start bad. When we relax, that’s when we do our best.”
The Patriots start four freshmen and one sophomore.
“See, that’s this team,” Ward said. “They don’t know when they’re supposed to be nervous or anxious.”
Barber scored 19 points, Webb 14 and Wayne 12 for the Patriots, whose nine freshman combined for 59 points.
Sophomore Areyana Williams had 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Saints (24-7), whose two seniors had five points.
“I told my girls they’re going to see (Homewood) for the next three years, because their young,” Selma coach Anthony Harris said. “I told their coach to go ahead and win it.
“That’s who I believe will win it.”