PONCE DE LEON, Fla. (WMBB) – The Ponce de Leon community got up bright and early Tuesday morning to wish the Lady Pirates basketball team good luck as they headed to the state semi-finals in Lakeland.
Getting on that bus for this trip meant so much more to this Ponce de Leon team, as they’re only two wins away from a state title.
“It’s just an amazing opportunity that we’ve all dreamed about since we’ve been in the sixth grade,” Pirates basketball player Cadence Alford said. “We’ve worked so hard since little kids being brought up by the coaches and it’s something we’ve always dreamed about.”
Both the high school students and elementary school students gathered to wave goodbye to the Pirates as they headed to Final Four of the 1A tournament, the first time they’ve been since 2012.
“We’ve worked and put in countless hours over the summer, over quarantine, we’ve put in countless hours in the weight room, we’ve been waiting for this moment,” Lily Brooks told News 13.
The moment has arrived for the Lady Pirates as they will play in the state semi-finals Wednesday night at the R.P Funding Center, a big stage set for the team.
“It is an awesome accomplishment for the ladies, but at the end of the day, we still have work to do. This is a business trip for us and we’re gonna go down there and approach it in that manner,” said head coach Brad Alford.
The Pirates will be taking on another panhandle foe in that game, the Port St. Joe Tiger Sharks.
Although these two teams haven’t matched up this season, the Pirates know what St. Joe brings to the table as the Tiger Sharks have been to the Final Four for the past four years.
Though the Lady Pirates aren’t going to be intimidated by that.
“If we play like we’ve been playing we put the running clock on the past three teams we’ve played,” Brooks said. “So if we keep playing like we’ve been playing then I think we can go very far.”
It would also mean something else for the this team, to bring back a title for the town.
“It would be amazing to have our names on the wall, a lot of our mothers have been on the wall in years past and it would mean something to have generations of our families on the wall.”
The semi-finals game between Ponce de Leon and Port St. Joe starts Wednesday night at 6 p.m.