Crisp Academy’s Kayla Childers drives through the lane Friday afternoon in the GISA Class A state semifinals at Mercer University’s Hawkins Arena. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)
MACON — Forgive Crisp Academy’s Kayla Childers if she didn’t seem overly excited about her team’s 49-25 rout of Robert Toombs Christian in the GISA Class A state semifinals Friday afternoon.
The Lady Wildcats have been here and done that before — three times to be exact — and will play for a fourth consecutive state championship today at Mercer University’s Hawkins Arena.
It might seem to get a little boring for a program that has dominated GISA Class A girls basketball in recent years. However, Crisp Academy players said winning championships never gets old.
“(Winning semifinals) is not what our goal is,” said Childers, who finished with six points. “We’ve already won this before.”
Childers’ Lady Wildcats can make history today by capturing the state title — which would be the program’s fourth straight, something very few in the GISA have accomplished — when they meet Thomas Jefferson at noon.
Crisp (29-2) didn’t want any lingering questions after they started. They jumped out to a 14-4 advantage in the opening quarter and led by 21 at halftime.
In fact, one had to get the impression that when Maddie Krause created a pair of steals in the backcourt, dishing the first to Mary Margaret McGarr for a bucket, then she created her own highlight with a steal and lay-in to make it 38-13 — that the game was essentially over.
After building a large margin, their lead never fell below 20 points.
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Crusaders got a huge dose of Herald Super 6er Madi Mitchell, who scored six of the team’s eight points inside the paint. Mitchell led the Lady Wildcats with 21 points, and teammate Kara White added 10 points.
“We’ve got six seniors and their No. 1 goal is to go out winning four straight state titles,” Crisp girls coach Gina Mitchell said. “I don’t think one player in the GISA has done that. Six players could possibly to do that (today). But we’ve got to focus on playing well as a team. We’ve got great senior leadership that everybody just seems to follow.”
After Crisp went ahead 32-11 at halftime, coach Mitchell’s biggest challenge seemed to be keeping her team focused. After McGarr’s steal and basket gave the Lady Wildcats their largest lead, Robert Toombs used a small 6-2 run to make it 39-19 with 58 seconds left in the third.
But Crisp kept its foot on the gas pedal and finished off the Lady Crusaders — in dominating fashion.
“That was something we talked about at halftime — staying focused,” Gina Mitchell said. “We were up by 20, and they cut it to 12 (in the first half), but we didn’t go back to pressing. We could have, but we didn’t want to. We wanted to keep our legs fresh.”
While the postgame celebration was subdued, Krause was asked by a reporter if her team would celebrate if they won the championship today.
“You will,” she said.