Spirited signs lined the walkway to the Cape Hatteras Secondary School (CHSS) gym on Thursday night in support of the Lady Canes basketball team, who were competing in the second round of the NC 1A State Tournament.
Upon entering the crowded gym of excited fans, enthusiastic cheers exploded from both sides of the room. Despite their hard work last night, the Lady Canes of CHSS fell to Riverside High School’s Knights of Williamston, N.C.
While the loss ended their season, not all is lost. Over the past season, the Lady Canes faced challenges head-on in order to be successful. They learned to work together as a team, and they have much to look forward to in their next season.
“The most difficult challenge we’ve faced this season is learning to work as a team again,” Senior Captain Morgan Fairbanks said.
Some miscommunication and fumbling in the first quarter resulted in turnovers on both sides. Riverside was the first to score, but CHSS fought to keep up, with senior point guard Nyah Machie sinking a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and Eliza Quidley quickly gaining 2 more points. While CHSS’s defense was on point, Riverside’s hustle proved too much for the Lady Canes. The Knights played hard, and they left the first quarter with a score more than double that of the Canes.
The Canes entered the second quarter making stronger passes and playing more confidently. Despite successful shots from Quidley, Machie, and Fairbanks, the Lady Canes just could not make some of their most vital opportunities under the basket. Riverside gained a stronger lead, leaving the score at 30-13 at the end of the quarter.
After halftime, CHSS showed they were ready to get back to business. Quidley was the first to score in the third quarter with an impressive 3-point shot which she quickly followed up with another. Machie contributed a 3-pointer as well, and baskets from Laya Barley, Fairbanks, and Lexus Meekins brought the score to a tighter margin of 49-29 at the end of the quarter.
With only eight minutes left to prove themselves, the Lady Canes pulled out all the shots. Machie sunk a 3-pointer and fought the Knights’ defense for a successful lay-up shot. While the Lady Canes’ defense was solid, Riverside drew one foul shot after another, most of which they made. The final score was 73-36 Riverside.
The RHS Knights went 10 and 2 in their regular season play. They are set to face off against Pamlico County High School, (the school that CHSS lost to last year in the fourth round of states), tomorrow at 3 p.m.
One loss, however, certainly does not diminish the Canes’ hard work and success over the past few years.
Over the course of the season, the team learned to work together as one and went undefeated in their conference, earning the title of Conference Champions. They proved once again that they can compete at the state level, making both their school and community proud.
Unfortunately, the Lady Canes have to say goodbye to two of their most faithful teammates this season. Although seniors Morgan Fairbanks and Nyah Machie will not be a part of next year’s team, they inspired a passion for the game in their team that will not be soon forgotten.
“It’s going to be hard losing Nyah and Morgan. Nyah played really well, and Morgan was really the leader of this team,” Fountain said.
Though their skills will be missed, Fairbanks and Machie will leave this season with lots of lessons learned and two conference championship titles under their belt. More importantly, they will leave a legacy of leadership and encouragement.
“I am very proud of everyone on the team,” Fairbanks said.
The Lady Canes certainly have a lot to look forward to in the future of their team as well.
The team will have a whopping five seniors and six juniors next year, not to mention a group of talented 8th graders graduating to the high school level. After a scrimmage with the 8th grade team, coach Earl Fountain says he looks forward to working with them to hone their talents over the next four years.
“It’s going to be an exciting season next year. We could be even better than last year,” Fountain said.
Thank you, CHSS Lady Canes for inspiring your community and representing your school well.