The memories are still fresh for Jenny Greene. So is the hurt and disappointment.
Greene, now a teacher at Sherwood Elementary in Phenix City, was Jenny Mitchell back in 1993, the starting point guard for the Central girls basketball team that season.
That was the last time a Central girls team made it to the Alabama High School Athletic Association state semifinals until this season. The 2011-12 version of the Lady Red Devils face Hoover on Friday in Birmingham.
Greene was reminded earlier this week that it had been 19 years since she, Tracey Jordan, Tamicka Crowell, Tamika Coleman and LaShun Dixon led the Red Devils to the Elite 8, which was played that year in Jacksonville, Ala.
Its been that long, Greene said, not quite believing it.
It was Dixon who put Central into the final four that year. She hit a long shot at the buzzer in a 62-61 victory over LeFlore.
LeFlore led Central 61-59 with seven seconds left when a LeFlore player missed a free-throw attempt. Mark Rice, who covered the game for the Ledger-Enquirer, wrote Dixon grabbed the rebound and dribbled undefensed across midcourt. She cut to the right of the top of the key and let loose what some would call a prayer. She banked it in at the buzzer.
Dixon told Rice that she knew it was good.
That set up a semifinal matchup against Grissom. The sixth-ranked team in the state ended Centrals season, 56-49.
Asked if there were regrets, Greene said, Gosh, yes. You dont expect to get there, but then you dont expect to lose. It was hard to grasp.
The coach of that 1993 team was Carolyn Moore, who is still the coach, but now she is Carolyn Wright. That 1993 season was just Wrights second. She had inherited a program that won just two games in 1990-91. In her first season, the Lady Red Devils went 15-11. In 1993, they finished 26-3.
Wright said they were a special group.
They were a very disciplined team, had a desire to win, Wright said. They just came to practice and got it done. They were team-oriented and very close.
Wright says there are a lot of those traits in her current team, which has lost just once this season. Central won the Central Regional title last week after losing in that round the past two seasons.
There may have been more talented teams than Wrights two final four clubs.
We have had the capability to get there before, Wright said. We couldnt put all the pieces together in a team effort. I think we were missing some toughness and togetherness as a team.
Greene said there werent a lot of expectations before the season.
We always referred to it as our Cinderella season, Greene said.
This years Central team will find out this weekend if the glass slipper fits them.
Kevin Price, email@example.com, 706-320-4493.