The Thomas Heyward Academy girls basketball team is accustomed to the road.
Today's trip to the Sumter County Civic Center will be the team's third this week -- roughly 15 hours of driving, there and back. But for the magnitude of the prize at stake, the miles have rolled past, Rebels coach Gary Mazzanna said.
"The drive doesn't get that bad," Mazzanna said. "You're excited about each step of the way."
His team will try to reach its desired destination today at 2:30 p.m., when it plays Richard Winn Academy for the SCISAA Class 2-A girls championship. The matchup of undefeated teams is a rematch of last season's semifinal, which Thomas Heyward won by a point.
Richard Winn (30-0) is led by senior center Alex Maass, who averages 31 points and 12 rebounds per game. Her sidekick is sophomore guard Carson Justice, who averages 13 points, eight assists and five steals per game.
The Rebels' objective will be to slow those two and force the Eagles' role players into action.
"We're not going to do anything differently, we're just going to try and wear them out," said Mazzanna, whose team improved to 26-0 after defeating Colleton Prep in Thursday's semifinal. "Wear them out and somebody has to step up who's not used to stepping up. And they're not going to be successful, hopefully."
Mazzanna said he knew when he started the season that the Rebels would have the personnel to play an up-tempo game. After a loss to Bible Baptist in last year's state title game, the Rebels tore through this year's schedule, winning by an average margin of 27.5 points per game.
The Rebels contend they have maintained their focus to this point, not looking too far ahead, but that everyone knew what would make this season a success.
"In the big picture, we're looking to play in a state championship and win," senior Kayla Canavan said.
Mazzanna believes the Rebels' depth could push them through. Five Rebels average at least eight points per game.
After Maass and Justice, the Eagles' scoring falls off.
"They have a lot of role players, and they know their roles and don't step outside that very often," Mazzanna said. "But I don't think they've ever been really forced to have to step outside that, so that's what we're going to try and make them do."
SCISAA CLASS 2-A GIRLS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
What: Richard Winn Academy (30-0) vs. Thomas Heyward Academy (26-0)
Where: Sumter County Civic Center
When: 2:30 p.m. today