January 30, 2009



Ferry Division makes route changes that affect Ocracoke

By JORDAN TOMBERLIN


For most of us Island residents, winter is a slow, sometimes even boring, break—a kind of calm before the storm.  But for the Cape Hatteras Lady Hurricanes basketball team, things are a little different.

Winter means grueling practices, intense, fast-paced games, constant improvement, and, more often than not, big victories over stunned opponents. 

There’s nothing calm about it. When the Lady Hurricanes take the floor, they are the storm. 

Through their success over the past few years, the Lady Canes have earned quite a reputation, and after the record-breaking success of last year’s team, which advanced to the fourth round of the state playoffs, further than any other team in the school’s history, and finished as one of the top eight teams in North Carolina, expectations for girls have never been higher. 


And so far this season, they have not disappointed.  


Led by veteran head coach Earl Fountain and assistant coach Kelly Forsyth, this season’s team, including all but two players from last year’s elite-eight  squad, is once again dominating the Tideland Athletic Conference with their aggressive defense and their fast-paced running game.  

They’ve crushed every team they have faced, almost always by a significant margin, and after handing the also undefeated Creswell team a serious loss earlier this month, the Lady Canes officially have the top spot in their conference all to themselves.  

But standing alone at the top of the TAC, while definitely an achievement, isn’t enough for the Lady Hurricanes. They have their eye on something much bigger—namely, the state title they didn’t win last year. And both Fountain and his players know that huge victories over these smaller schools, however gratifying, won’t prepare them for the teams they will face in the post-season.  

“The level of competition is weak in this conference,” Fountain admitted last Friday evening, after the Lady Canes practically coasted to a sizeable victory over neighboring Ocracoke.

In an effort to expose the team to tougher competition, Fountain scheduled pre-season games with larger schools outside the TAC this year, including Manteo and First Flight high schools, and took the team to a Christmas tournament in Norfolk over the break.
   
The Lady Canes handled the challenges ably. They beat First Flight both times they met, something they had never done before, went a respectable 1-1 with Manteo, a team they could very well face in the playoffs, and lost the Christmas tournament, in a close game, to Bishop Sullivan Catholic, a large private school in Norfolk. 

So how do you keep a team this good from getting complacent? 

“I yell at them,” Fountain said with a laugh. “But honestly, most of these girls just really enjoy playing,” he said, recalling how most of them spent their summers at the school, attending open gyms and working out in the school’s weight room, some of them showing up almost every day.

“We’re looking to get farther than we did last year, and we’ve got some things to work on before we can get there,” he added, listing boxing out, rebounding, and a controlled half-court offense as the few weak points in the Lady Canes’ otherwise unstoppable game.

The Lady Hurricanes have several more games before they start post-season play.

Check the schedule at http://islandfreepress.org/2008Archives/VarsityBasketballSchedule2008-2009.pdf





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