Sayre is hoping that experience will be beneficial when the girls' portion of the Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic tips off Wednesday.
The Spartans (15-2) are back in the Frankfort Convention Center as 11th Region champion for a second year in a row.
"Yes, definitely," center Gabby Bowie said when asked whether experience would help. "We've all worked really hard to get here. We just want to keep one game at a time and keep going and fighting and playing our game."
Sayre's first-round opponent is Clinton County (20-3), out of the 4th Region, at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
"They're very good defensively. They play hard," Sayre Coach Scotty Sutton said. "They rotate as well as any high school team I've seen — rotate defensively.
"Offensively, it starts with (Ansley) Stalcup. She's one of their senior leaders. She can get to the rim. She can shoot the three, but she'd rather drive on you and get to the rim."
Sutton also is wary of the Lady Bulldogs' zone press.
"They are extremely quick out of it, so that is a concern," Sutton said. "I'm concerned about them getting easy shots off turnovers. We have to take care of the basketball."
Bowie, the 6-foot-3 daughter of former Kentucky standout Sam Bowie, is Sayre's last line of defense. In addition to averaging nearly 15 points and nine rebounds a game, she contributes nearly five blocks a game.
And she has been getting plenty of help at both ends of the floor.
"Mostly just everyone has stepped up each game," fellow senior Meg Croney-Clark said. "It's always someone that steps up. And our defense. We've been working really hard on our defense, and we shut down their top players. I think that helps a lot."
Croney-Clark, Dee Dee Wheeler and Hannah Brady are among the outside shooters who have stepped up.
"Definitely now that we're a threat with outside shooting, that helps clear the block and down low," Gabby Bowie said.
Sutton didn't know what to expect coming into the year. He lost 2,000-point scorer Molly Manella to graduation, and starter Sydney Strup tore an ACL. The Spartans suffered another scare just before the start of the season when Bowie suffered a partial tear of her Achilles' tendon.
"She has been just such a warrior. She has really just risen to the occasion," Sutton said. "But, having said that, the other girls have stepped up too, and because of that, we haven't seen hardly any junk (defenses focused on Bowie) at all this year. They've all stepped up and (are) willing to shoot it, so it's been a pleasant surprise."
Bowie also is a key if Sayre is to solve the Clinton press.
"She helps us bring the ball up the floor. When teams press us, she can usually see over the top, so we're getting good looks," Sutton said. "There may be better players out there, but there's not a more valuable player out there than she is. She just does so much for us."
Sayre will have a shootaround at school Wednesday morning. When it comes time to board the bus to Frankfort, the team will go through a "Spartan walk" where the whole school — from pre-kindergarten through high school — will wish them well.
From there, it will be up to the Spartans.
"We're just going to have to keep doing what we do — grind it out," Sutton said. "You know we're going to play zone and our thing all year is take their best players away. So it's going to be a challenge."
■ Along with Sayre, other teams making a return to the All "A" are Danville, Harlan, Leslie County, Murray, Owensboro Catholic and University Heights.