The Hereford Lady Whitefaces have a little bit of a height advantage over the Carthage Lady Bulldogs.
They also have a lot more experience playing in the final four with nine trips to just two for the Lady Dawgs.
But after what they’ve been through already, Carthage Coach Dawn Stewart isn’t really concerned about those things.
The Lady Bulldogs (41-4) and the Lady Whitefaces (34-14) will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday in the UIL Class 4A State Semifinals at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland. Lamar Fulshear (43-4) and Kennedale (36-7) meet in the other 4A semifinal at 7 p.m., and the winners advance to the state championship match set for 1 p.m. on Saturday.
“We know they’re a good solid team with really good middles, good size and a strong program,” said Stewart. “They’re no strangers to this scene. But at this point everybody’s good or they wouldn’t be here.We’re coming up with a plan, the girls are confident and it’s going to be a good one.”
One player Stewart and the rest of the team are counting on is senior Cami Hicks.
“Everybody knows Cami is our big gun,” she said. “Our team feeds off her. She’s playing some big-time ball right now.
“She’s also starting to see some triple blocks. Kristen (Stewart) is doing a good job getting different looks and getting the ball to people where they can do something. We have Faith Kruebbe, and she’s kind of our ‘Silent Assassin.’ She’s stepped up and she was our catalyst against Splendora. We can put her in several different places.
“Makhai Lewis is another sophomore who’s coming into her own. We have a lot of players stepping up.’’
While most teams would be very nervous making their school’s first trip to state since the active players were toddlers at best, Stewart’s team appears to be enjoying themselves.
“Our preseason schedule helped us (playing playoff experienced teams) and Midlothian Heritage showed we can deal with size,” Stewart said. “I think what we lack in size we make up with athleticism and hard work. They’ve worked hard for this and they’re enjoying it.
“They know it’s a challenge, but they like that and they’re ready.”
There will be a sendoff for the team at 8:40 a.m. Thursday by the high school gym.
■ NOTES: The UIL State Tournament begins on Wednesday with Class A and 2A semifinal matches. Netches (39-5) meets Blum (30-14) at 11 a.m. and Water Valley (31-12) takes on Round Top-Carmine (21-11) at 1 p.m. in the Class A semifinals while Craword (47-4) faces Burton (34-15) at 3 p.m. and Leon (42-5) meets Wink (40-5) at 5 p.m. in Class 2A ... Class 3A semifinals on Thursday have Bushland (46-1) vs. Vanderbilt Industrial (36-11) at 11 a.m. and Van Alstyne (36-4) vs. Lexington (34-13) at 1 p.m. ... Class 5A semifinals on Friday feature Canyon Randall (42-3) vs. San Antonio Alamo Heights (35-9) at 11 a.m. and Lucas Lovejoy (46-5) vs. Friendswood (34-17) at 1 p.m. ... The 6A semifinal matchups include Northwest Nelson (48-2) vs. Schertz Clemens (44-4) at 5 p.m. and Fort Bend Ridge Point (46-4) vs. Plano West (39-5) at 7 p.m. ... Championship matches are at 1 p.m. on Thursday for Class A, 3 p.m. on Friday for 2A, 11 a.m. on Saturday for 3A, 1 p.m. on Saturday for 4A, 3 p.m. on Saturday for 5A and 5 p.m. on Saturday for 6A.