SEFFNER — When Tesha Hanson was first told by her coach he wanted her to shoot 40 times in a game, the math hardly made sense.
“I was like, ‘Uhh, is that possible?’ ” Hanson said.
But Seffner Christian coach Greg Fawbush is all about meeting quantitative goals for every game. The Crusaders’ top scorers — Hanson and guard Sabrina Whiting — each have shot quotas. Other players have a certain number of rebounds, steals, assists — even screens — to meet.
“We write it on the board before every game,” Fawbush said. “And there are two things that don’t lie — film and stats.”
As a young Seffner Christian team — the Crusaders have no seniors or juniors — plays for its first state tournament berth against Orlando Christian Prep (12-13) in Saturday’s Class A region final, there’s no question every player knows her role.
“The main difference between 1A and 5A is the numbers,” Fawbush said. “You have more athletes at the bigger schools. So at this level, you have to be better at putting them in the right places. You don’t have any room for error.
“Unlike bigger schools, we can’t miss.”
The Crusaders (21-7) have been this far only once before, losing to Sarasota Christian in 2008. But this season begins what appears to be a bright future for the 220-student school.
Saturday night they can become the bay area’s first Class A team to advance to state since Keswick Christian reached the title game in 2000.
Leading the way is Hanson, the county’s leading scorer at 24.4 points a game. Hanson, a 15-year-old sophomore, transferred after a successful freshman campaign at Wharton.
“To me, it’s not much of a difference,” Hanson said. “It’s just that 1A is more organized, where in 5A/6A you have a bunch of fast, fast athletes just playing. The only difference is that this is more of a team.”
Fawbush puts a shot quota on Hanson, the daughter of USF men’s basketball assistant coach Reggie Hanson, to make sure she gets her shots. When Hanson scored her 1,000th career point two weeks ago, her teammates had to yell at her to shoot because she was passing too much.
Add in Whiting, a freshman who is the only returning player from last year’s varsity team, and the Crusaders have a dangerous duo. Whiting, who averaged 14.5 points this season, is posting 21.5 a game in the postseason.
They also have a body of work. Seffner beat 25-5 Northside Christian and held its own in losses to bigger schools like St. Petersburg Catholic, Indian Rocks Christian and Clearwater.
“We feel confident going into a game against anybody that we can win,” Fawbush said. “In years past and maybe even earlier this year, we would be a little apprehensive. Now, we’re confident in how hard we work in practice and the game planning.”
Fawbush, whose team beat 5A Armwood by 17 earlier in the season, even said he has trouble scheduling bigger schools to play the Crusaders.
“We’ll play anybody anywhere,” Fawbush said.
With one more win, they’ll be playing in Lakeland — in the state tournament.
Girls basketball region finals
All games at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Class 5A, Sickles (18-10) at Clearwater (27-3): All-American Amber Henson’s chase of elusive state berth goes through a Tornadoes team that’s peaking.
Class 5A, Winter Haven (23-5) at Riverview (27-2): Talented Sharks face huge obstacle in Blue Devils team that has made state nine of past 11 years.
Class 3A, Tampa Catholic (25-4) at Bradenton Southeast (25-4): Defending state champ Crusaders take 22-game win streak on the road playing their best ball.
Class A, Orlando Christian Prep (12-13) at Seffner Christian (21-7): Having vanquished rival Bradenton Christian, Crusaders are one win from first state berth.