A lot of the talk you hear about the Frost Lady Polar Bears is what they can be next year and the two or three years after that.
But what about now?
The Lady Polar Bears, with their nice blend of youth and veterans, provided more evidence they're a big threat right now, hitting several clutch free throws in the fourth quarter. It helped Frost pull away from Mildred for a 56-42 victory in Friday's first championship semifinal at the Kiwanis Classic.
Frost (17-1), ranked No. 10 in the current TABC Class 1A DII state poll, will face a huge opportunity for a huge win in Saturday's championship game against either No. 2 Kerens or No. 16 Teague.
"We're looking forward to the competition," Frost coach Clark Moore said. "It's only going to make us better."
Frost faced a good test against Mildred (12-5), which stayed close to the Lady Polar Bears despite major foul trouble. It caught up with the Lady Eagles in the fourth quarter. Frost went into a stall with an eight- to 10-point lead and Mildred was forced to foul. The Lady Polar Bears responded by making 12 of 14 free throws in the quarter.
"We were a little flat," Mildred coach Dale Clement said. "We did some good things. They put a lot of pressure on us making free throws. They pulled the ball out and tried to stall and all we could do was foul."
Senior Dakota Lassetter and junior Diana Rios, who don't get talked about enough, both made key free throws down the stretch. They combined for 10 of 12 free throws and came up big with freshman post Jae Moore out of the game.
Lassetter had 12 points for the game and Rios had 11. Another senior, Kadee Bowling, had another solid game in the tournament with eight points.
The Lady Polar Bears survived a critical stretch in the second half with Moore saddled with four fouls. Mildred cut the lead to 42-34 at the end of the third quarter, but Frost was able to extend the lead before Moore returned. She finished as the high scorer with 14 points.
"We've got some depth," Moore said. "That's one of our strong points."
Foul problems plagued Mildred. Freshman Maddie Moore, who scored the first four points of the game, picked up her third foul with 12 seconds left in the first half and didn't score again until the fourth quarter.
Senior guard Olivia Farmer fouled out after scoring 16 points to lead the Lady Eagles.
Frost went on a 12-0 run in the first quarter to go ahead 12-4, and Mildred was never able to get any closer.
Against a quality team like the Lady Eagles, Frost controlled the game and made the big free throws with the game on the line.
"Usually you come out of Christmas break not making free throws," Moore said. "That's all we've done at Frost, work on our free throws."
Kiwanis Classic: Girls Championship Semifinal
Frost 56, Mildred 42
Mildred 8 10 16 8 -- 42
Frost 14 14 14 14 -- 56
Mildred -- Abbie Burnham 1, Savannah Pritchett 10, Shelby Adamson 7, Maddie Moore 6, Olivia Farmer 16, Raleigh Bottoms 2.
Frost -- Morgan Elmore 5, Kadee Bowling 8, Dakota Lassetter 12, Jasmyn Steels 6, Diana Rios 11, Jae Moore 14.
Records -- Mildred 12-5, Frost 17-1.