Lumberton Pirates took on Millbrook Tuesday night in the east regional semifinals. (Source: Drew Hansen)
The Lumberton Pirates have been a source of inspiration for the community following Hurricane Matthew. (Source: Drew Hansen)
LUMBERTON, NC (WMBF) - The sport of basketball is inspiring Lumberton High School and the entire community as it continues its recovery from Hurricane Matthew, five months later.
On Tuesday night, the Pirates took part in the eastern regional semifinals game, with the hope of heading to the state finals.
The women's basketball team went into the game with a 27-1 record. Assistant Coach Leonard Galloway said the devastation that swept through Lumberton because of Matthew brought a lot of heartache, but also hope.
That hope filtered down to Galloway, who lived out of a hotel for three weeks following the storm.
”I’m still recovering, but because of these girls and the success of this team, it's not that bad," he said. "You could be going through stuff that’s devastating and then an event will happen that will lift up my spirits. That’s how I feel. My spirit has been uplifted as a result of these girls."
This year's record was one the team hasn't seen in years.
“It has surpassed last year and last year we didn’t have a hurricane," Galloway said. "It's almost like we are the hurricane when we play games. That’s how we play.”
Galloway added that the team's camaraderie got stronger as a result of the hurricane. That meant the girls got closer too.
For members of the squad, recovery following Matthew just would not have been the same without basketball. Teammates Maddie Canady, London Thompson and Jasmine McBride sat down with WMBF News and shared how the past five months recovering from Hurricane Matthew wouldn’t have been the same without basketball..
“Even people at school, they come to the games supporting us even when some recently just got out of hotels," said senior Jasmine McBride. "You know people who lost their homes and staying in hotels all throughout the city. Knowing they don’t have a home and still come to the game and support us, it just feels great. We represent our school and it gives us something to play for.”
When they weren't bringing hope to the community while on the basketball court, the team was helping off it as well.
"I know our basketball team was out every day working at shelters," said sophomore Maddie Canady.
The girls weren’t in season when Matthew hit. but McBride said once it started less than a month later, they all knew it was time to stand together and be a family.
“My girls on my team are wonderful people, but after Hurricane Matthew happened, we volunteered and I would see them at shelters and we volunteered a lot," she said. "It showed me we have great leaders on our team, and it brought us together on a team and we trust our leaders and we played our role on the team.”
The Pirates' season came to end Tuesday after falling to Millbrook by a score of 58-33. They finished top eight in the state.