Curtis Baptist’s boys and girls basketball teams practiced at the same time Wednesday afternoon, going through drills and running to get ready for the big stage.
Still alive in the hunt for a state title, the Crusaders were preparing for the GISA Class A state semifinals. The girls play Crisp Academy, a two-time defending state champion, at 1 p.m. today. The boys face Georgia Christian at 1 p.m. Friday.
Westminster’s boys also will represent the Augusta area in Macon, Ga., facing Loganville Christian at 8:30 p.m. Friday in a Class AAA semifinal. All games will be at Mercer University, with the championship games held Saturday.
“It’s a blessing, a real honor,” Curtis Baptist boys coach John Spurlock said. “It’s a big achievement for our program to accomplish at this level, this late in the year.”
The Crusaders are in the boys semifinals for the second season in a row, with the previous run happening in Class AA.
This calendar year, Curtis Baptist has gone 16-2, with senior Brian Wilson the star. Wilson, a guard, averages 20.5 points per game. He just put up a double-double against Citizens Christian Academy in the quarterfinals, scoring 25 points and adding 10 rebounds.
This season’s Crusaders team isn’t as experienced as the 2011-12 team, but with Wilson and Micah Ryals, Curtis Baptist has used speed to find success. Wilson hopes that success continues.
“My goal is the championship. My goal is to go farther,” he said, referring to how far the team made it during his junior year.
The girls team is in the semifinals after a rebuilding season. An ACL injury to Kaitlin Swanson hurt the 2011-12 team, which lost in the opening round of the Class AA state playoffs as a No. 4 seed.
This season, Curtis Baptist got a No. 1 seed in Class A and made the semifinals by winning two close games. After a four-point win in the first round, it picked up an eight-point victory in the quarterfinal.
Swanson, who is back on the court after being sidelined by surgery for a different injury, Alyssa Spurlock and Lissa Robinson combined for 38 points in the quarterfinal win.
Curtis Baptist coach Maria Swanson, Kaitlin’s mother, said she knows her team is the underdog against Crisp Academy. The label doesn’t bother her, and she said her team can pull off a surprise.
“You would look at them and us and say, ‘There’s no way,’ ” coach Swanson said. “But if anybody can do it, these girls can.”