All season long, the team was led by head coach Earl Fountain and assistant coach Molly Thompson along with three captains: junior Morgan Fairbanks, senior Savannah Scarborough, and senior Caroline Gray. Under their passionate
leadership, the team formed a strong bond not to be broken by the conclusion of their season, nor the loss of graduating seniors.
For many on the team, the court was the one place that they could leave all the stress of school and home behind to focus solely on the game. Being able to play with friends was also a relief, made even better by the fact that the whole team acted like a family.
“It’s fun to play with your friends and get to know people better in order to create better relationships,” Fairbanks said.
Some of the best memories from this season were the ones made off the court, however, and which helped solidify the bond between players. The Lady Canes remembered fondly their team hangouts, pranking Fountain and Thompson, and most especially the overwhelming support from the community they experienced towards the end of the season.
The team was extremely encouraged by the amount of fans at their three states playoff games, especially those who drove the 3.5 hours to cheer them on at Bayboro.
Not only were signs lined up to usher the girls to their away game, but fans also lined up along N.C. Highway 12 to encourage the girls as they left. This incredible show of support is what gave the team the extra push they needed. After having to fight through a nasty flu season and a tiring extra-long season, the girls really appreciate all the recognition they have received for their hard work.
With their success as a team and the support of their community, the girls have gained a lot of confidence in their abilities over this season. With their first few wins against Currituck and First Flight in the Battle of the Beaches Tournament, they made a habit of winning from then on, and continued to secure the title of conference champions. The Lady Canes have put their all into this season because they care about this sport, their team, and the pride of their community. They worked hard all season, so it was nice to see it pay off – especially for the seniors.
Sadly, this is the Lady Canes’ last season with their 3 seniors: Scarborough, Gray, and Emma Alvarez.
Though only Gray plans to play basketball in college, each of them has learned valuable lessons that they will take with them to college and beyond.
“This season has taught me [never] to give anything just 50% because the time is going to come when you would do anything to do it again. Basketball has taught me how to persevere, be confident, and be a leader for others,” Scarborough said.
“Basketball is something I have always wanted to play at the next level since I was a little kid. It is something to me – even winning or losing – that is still worth it no matter what,” said Gray.
The hardest part of losing in the fourth round of the States competition was not having the opportunity to come back and win again. After an incredible 25-game undefeated streak, however, that one loss will not be what this team remembers of their season. Instead, they will remember the close friendships which were solidified during the season, and which will continue throughout their lives.
All in all, coaches Fountain and Thompson are sad to see their season end, but enjoyed seeing the team grow as individuals and as a team throughout the season.
“You never know in life what someone is going through, and I hope that as a coach I had a positive influence on them,” Fountain said.
The girls would certainly say that he did.
Fountain and Thompson’s leadership and support is what brought the team together as a family and is ultimately what made them successful this season, and in the future.
“Our coaches want to win and really won’t settle for any less. Earl and Molly had a huge hand in our accomplishments this year, and gave us the extra push to help us get there,” Gray said.
For next season, the coaches hope to schedule games with stronger teams outside of our conference in order to prepare Lady Canes for playing on a higher level at states.
With lots of work in the off-season, the team believes they can make it even further than they did this season.
By making habit of winning and being like a family, Lady Canes have a powerful momentum that will surely continue into the next season.
Until next season, “I believe that we will win!”