It is no secret that because Hatteras Island is so far off the map geographically, Cape Hatteras Secondary School often struggles to excel athletically. Though, from time to time, teams may have success in the conference, going beyond is often a rarity. While CHSS has produced many talented athletes and teams over the years, few have been quite as successful as this year’s girls’ varsity basketball team.
The Lady Canes, under the leadership of head coach Earl Fountain and assistant coach Molly Thompson, are the first in CHSS varsity girls’ basketball history to go undefeated in both their conference and overall season. Not only is this an incredible feat, but they are also the only girls’ varsity team in the state to go undefeated this season, securing their place in the state playoffs.
The Lady Canes, who beat Ocracoke School Wednesday night by a margin of nearly 60 points and beat Creswell High School 53-28 to win conference championships Friday night, will play their first states game at home on Thursday at 6 p.m..
Though making it through the season undefeated was certainly a victory, the coaches worry that it could hurt the girls moving into the high-stakes state competition, as many of the teams in the conference have been little competition for our Lady Canes. Despite the major score disparities in their conference games, Lady Canes say they have to play to a higher level in order to maintain their skills. While each player averages at least two points a game, the girls have gotten somewhat used to cutting corners this season but recognize that this style of play will not work at the states level.
Captains Savannah Scarborough, Caroline Gray, and Morgan Fairbanks say they and their team are nervous but excited about going to states.
“We’ve worked really hard. We’re ready,” Junior Captain, Morgan Fairbanks said.
Despite obstacles such as three sprained ankles in two days, a particularly nasty flu season, and the pressure of spring sports starting, Lady Canes are decidedly not letting anything stop them. Even when something goes wrong, each player is equally determined not to miss a game or practice.
In recent practices, coaches Thompson and Fountain have been training girls to have an attitude of confidence going into states.
“There’s no option of losing at this point. I feel like if we have this mentality we will go further,” Thompson said.
The coaches meet with players after each game to tell them how they could have played better, which the captains of the team say they appreciate and need. Even when doing well, they realize, there is always something to improve. Fountain and Thompson give players an equal opportunity to express their opinions, and players say they know they can always ask for help.
“They’re there for us 24/7,” Gray said of her coaches.
While the team has many strengths such as defense, endurance, and pushing the ball on the floor, both coaches and players recognize that teamwork is their biggest strength.
The Lady Canes have spent of lot of time this season bonding – eating lunch together on game days, cooking team dinners, and hosting sleepovers. This past weekend, the whole team went to Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia to watch a game together.
It is this time spent together off the court which has helped the team work as a unit, always knowing what the other is thinking during game time.
Senior captains, Savannah Scarborough and Caroline Gray say it is this kind of close friendship which makes the team a success.
“We’re all friends on and off the court,” Scarborough says.
Gray, a Senior Captain who has made it her goal to score a record-breaking amount of points in her final season, says this sense of mutual love and support is what she will be taking with her when she goes to play college basketball next year.
Coach Fountain says he has enjoyed watching Gray and her teammates progress and get better as a team over the course of the season. “They all love each other,” Fountain said. For the Lady Canes, it is not about how much talent they possess, but about how they use their strengths together to achieve a seemingly impossible goal: a perfect season.
If the Lady Canes win Thursday’s game, they will have the chance to play three more games before making it to the state championship game at the University of North Carolina.
What the team needs now more than anything is support from their school and community. They hope to see the stands packed out on Thursday with CHSS fans.
“Our season’s not over yet,” Scarborough said.
Come be a part of the team on Thursday and support our Lady Canes!