Cape Hatteras Secondary School’s Lady Canes basketball team excelled beyond what anyone had projected for them this past season, going undefeated in their regular season and competing at the state level. Though their success was certainly a team effort, one of the standout Lady Canes was senior captain Caroline Gray. After a record-breaking season at CHSS, Caroline will continue her basketball career as a Trojan at the University of Mount Olive this fall. With the overwhelming support of family, friends, and faculty, she hopes to continue to hone her skills in the sport that she has enjoyed for so long.
Caroline, affectionately known as Stretch, started out playing basketball when she was just four years old, long before she was tall enough to reach the net. She remembers watching college basketball when she was young and dreaming of playing at a higher level. Despite living on an island, Gray managed to continu e working on her skills in the off-season and to improve. Caroline says her favorite thing about basketball are the endless chances to advance her skills and find innovative ways to outsmart her opponents.
“You can always create something new, whether it be a play or a new move,” she said.
Basketball has always been something of a family affair for the Grays. Both her brother, Hamilton, and her sister, Caitlyn, played for CHSS, and her mother, Susan, is the Administrative Specialist at the Fessenden Center where Caroline played rec ball.
Caroline’s dad, Asa, taught her to dribble as soon as she could hold a ball, and has always pushed her to get better. He spent countless nights with her working on shooting and skills, and sometimes even took her to the Day Use Area in Salvo to run and get in shape for the season. Had her dad not sat down with her after every game to explain the areas in which she could improve, Caroline says she would not be able to play at the college level.
“I definitely wouldn’t be here today without the help of my family and this school,” Caroline said.
Caroline signed her letter of intent to play basketball at Mount Olive this past Wednesday in the CHSS gym amongst a crowd of her family, friends, coaches, administrators, and teammates. The ceremony was short and simple, and included a brief signing of the letter and heartfelt words from all who have gotten the opportunity to see Caroline’s basketball career progress over the years.
As the first signee at CHSS in several years, everyone is very proud of her and excited to watch her play at t he college level.
“It has been nothing but a joy watching you develop into the young lady that you are and the superior athlete you have become,” said Beth Rooks, the school’s administrator
Located in Mount Olive, North Carolina, the University of Mount Olive is a small private liberal arts college. Caroline says she chose to play at Mount Olive because she really likes the campus and the small class sizes. She plans to major in business and minor in coaching. After meeting with the team and coaches, she felt like these would be the people to help push her game to the next level.
After leading her team through four rounds of states playoffs, Caroline believes her time at CHSS will only impact her college basketball career positively. Though she has had to play some much more experienced teams, she believes that playing them has only made her better. Over the six years she has played basketball with CHSS, she has learned to leave it all out on the court.
“Even though things might get hard or you might get beat, it doesn’t mean you give up, it just pushes you to become better,” Caroline said.
With the support of her community, Caroline hopes to accomplish big things and to make her school proud, and many are hoping that she might return to coach basketball at CHSS one day. Either way, her legacy will not soon be forgotten.
“She has worked very hard for this. We are all very proud of her, and looking forward to going to see her play at Mount Olive,” said Coach Earl Fountain.