Then came last Thursday's win in Lewisburg.
"I've never been disappointed with our physical effort," Calabrese said. "Sometimes we haven't played real smart though."
That began to turn late in the season when Capital forced ninth-ranked George Washington to overtime before barely losing.
"Over the last three weeks of the season we've played our best ball," Calabrese said. "I've really started to see improvement in the girls."
That happened to be about the time the Cougars made what could have been deemed an ill-advised trip to Lewisburg to play Greenbrier East.
Capital ended up losing by a 68-57 count.
"Making that trip down to Greenbrier East two weeks before regionals made some people wonder," Calabrese said. "But I think it really helped us."
The Cougars won last week's game 54-45 as senior Keke Walker finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Another senior, Brianna Harris grabbed 12 rebounds.
Khadijah Lee, another senior, leads Capital in scoring averaging 13.1 points per game while Walker averages 10.9.
Morris leads the Timberwolves with 17.8 points and 12 rebounds per game with Kelly scoring an average of 10.6 points and leading the squad in assists.
Spring Valley likes to apply baseline-to-baseline defensive pressure.
"What they do they do really, really, well like the press," Calabrese said. "We've really got to protect the ball."
Meanwhile the Timberwolves' main problem could be inexperience.
"I hope they can handle it," Spring Valley Coach Bo Miller said after his Region 4 co-final win over Winfield last week. "They were a little awestruck tonight at the crowd we had and it took us a quarter and a half to get going."
The Timberwolves won the regular season meeting at home by a 70-40 score.
"The girls realize what we are facing, we did not play very well when we went there," Calabrese said. "We're going to play hard and see what happens."
What will happen is either the Cougars will reclaim their tradition or Spring Valley will begin one.