The halls of Cape Hatteras Secondary School echoed with anticipation last night as the Lady Canes prepared to take on the Tigers of Creswell High School.
Even those who had not been to a basketball game all season came in support of the Lady Canes, packing into bleachers with an excited sense of pride in their hometown team who went undefeated in their regular season. Before even entering the gym, the parking lot was overflowing onto the main highway and a line of fans waited outside the door to see the Lady Canes secure another victory in the second round of states competition. Though the Lady Canes are no strangers to winning, they are not so used to the larger audience which seemed to rattle them in the first half of the game.
“I think the crowd being so large was a little intimidating to us,” head coach Earl Fountain said after the game.
While the Lady Canes bested Creswell to win conference championships just last week, this time the Tigers refused to go down without a fight. In fact, Creswell was the first to score a point more than three minutes into the game on a foul shot. This first point from the Tigers was certainly surprising, as the Lady Canes are used to racking up several points on Creswell before they even have the chance to shoot a basket.
The Lady Canes soon caught up, however, when senior captain Caroline Gray stole the ball from an opposing Tiger and dribbled the ball down the court where junior captain Morgan Fairbanks was waiting to finish with a layup.
By the second quarter, Creswell was not nearly far enough behind to allow the Canes to relax their play. While our Canes continued to widen the gap in points, they struggled to make many of their shots and hold possession for long. Creswell also drew several foul shots, many of which they were unable to complete, but which gave them too many chances to easily score.
In the last seconds of the second quarter, both teams were struggling to hold possession. It seemed as if the Canes’ energy was waning until sophomore Lexus Meekins scored a buzzer beater to make the score 14-21 in the Canes’ favor at halftime and set the tone for the rest of the game.
At half time, the Lady Canes were able to settle down and come together as a team to figure out what wasn’t working.
“During halftime, we talked a lot about what we needed to improve on and made it our goal to come out in the third quarter with intensity,” senior captain Savannah Scarborough said.
The Lady Canes certainly did come out with intensity in the second half, and the Tigers were no match for it.
Canes started off with possession and Scarborough scored off of a layup within the first thirty seconds. Although the Tigers were able to get a few shots in, Scarborough scored a three-pointer and a subsequent two points to separate the teams by 10 points. From there, Canes continued to score over and over again leaving the score at 19-41 Canes going into the fourth and final quarter.
Canes continued to dominate in the fourth quarter, with Fountain and Thompson even putting in all of their non-starting players at the same time.
With the Canes’ score at more than half that of the Creswell Tigers, fans began shouting, “Let’s go Hurricanes,” with only thirty seconds left in the game. With an extra boost from the crowd, Lady Canes came out on top with a score of 27-59 at the final buzzer.
No matter the score, Hatteras students in the student section were in a constant uproar. Each sported their red, black, and white and waved encouraging signs, even several with particular players’ faces on them. Having all of those fans there to support them was a big deal for Lady Canes, who say it gave them the confidence to finish strong.
“It was amazing to have such a big crowd and so much support. Just the positivity and the extra boost really helped give us that extra push,” Gray said.
As for their next game, Canes are ready to give it their all once again and make their hometown proud.
“Being intense has been a big part of our season, and we intend to play the rest of the season with more intensity and heart than ever,” Fairbanks said.
Lady Canes are set to play their third round of six states games tomorrow, February 24 at 5 p.m. in the CHSS gym.
Help pack out the gym once again and give these hard working ladies the support they deserve!