PONCE DE LEON, Fla. (WMBB) — The Ponce de Leon girls basketball team won back-to-back state championships the last two years and this season the Pirates are looking for number three.

“It’s been neat watching this group come together and kind of create their own identity,” Ponce de Leon Head Girls Basketball Coach Brad Alford said. “And they’ve done a really good job of not allowing the the expectations to overwhelm them.”

Alford said their success is all about a team mentality.

“They do a good job of embracing each other’s roles and they celebrate each other like it was them that was doing it themselves,” Alford said. “So it really comes down to a one heartbeat mentality.”

The lady Pirates beat Chipley 39-25 in the Class 1A District 2 Championship Game. PDL only lost three games this season, one to Chipley and the other two to teams in larger classifications.

“It teaches us about some of the struggles that you might face during a game,” Alford said. “And because it’s a long game and it’s a game of runs. So the more you can learn how to handle adversity and sometimes you to go through negative runs and we call that the storm and you’ve got to be able to navigate through that storm. And so they do a really good job of navigating and getting out of storms as quick as possible.”

If there is anything you can count on from the Ponce de Leon fan base, you can always expect a packed house to cheer on the lady Pirates.

“Here at PDL, the faithful show up and it’s a packed house,” Alford said. “So we tell our girls, don’t take that for granted because that’s not the case everywhere. And we appreciate our fans for that. And I’m happy that our girls have put themselves in a situation where people want to come watch them.”

The one seed Pirates will host four seed Poplar Springs on Thursday, February 9 for the first round of the Class 1A regional tournament.