The three Sipsey Valley players didn’t plan their response, but they echoed each other.
Asked how bad the Bears were just a few years ago, Queen Ford, Charity Brown and Shamir Brown bent their head in disgust.
“Does that answer your question?” Ford said.
My, how times have changed.
Sipsey Valley, a fifth-year school, is headed to the state semifinals for the first time, thanks to Thursday’s 46-35 victory over Munford at the Acadome.
The Bears (30-4) made a regional for the first time last year. This season, they won the Class 4A Central Regional championship.
“It’s not surprising,” second-year coach Jerome Elliott said. “I feel like, if you do the work and put the time in, you’ll get your just desserts.
“That’s been my message all along.”
Sipsey Valley, in its first three varsity seasons, struggled to reach double-digit victories.
Ford, who had 13 rebounds and 10 blocked shots Thursday, was the only one of the three with first-hand experience with the team from its lean days. Charity Brown is a transfer. Shamir Brown is an eighth-grader.
“Back then, we didn’t really work on the stuff we needed,” Ford said. “I guess we didn’t practice hard like we do now. Now, we have someone who stays on us.”
Charity and Shamir take inspiration from their older brother, Sam, who has his own state championship experience. He played on Tuscaloosa Academy’s AISA title team last year.
“We want a ring just like he has one,” Charity Brown said. “We want to keep playing as hard, or harder, to get there.”
Charity Brown had 13 points and seven assists Thursday. Shamir scored 17 points and was 4-of-7 on 3-pointers, including three straight in the second quarter.
“When I made one, I knew (Charity) would come back to me,” Shamir said.
Said Charity: “She knows what I expect. I expect her to shoot them and to make them.”
Kierra Groce’s 18 points led Munford (18-9).