By Peter Vankevich
Prior to Ocracoke School seniors Lucy O’Neal, Katie O’Neal and Abigail Morris joining the varsity basketball team, the Lady Dolphins in the previous four seasons had won a total of just nine games.
During their playing time, the team, coached by Adam Burleson, has won more than 65 games, captured two conference championships and qualified for the state playoffs four times.
As a sophomore, Lucy won the Conference Player of the Year award and holds school
records for scoring, rebounding and blocking.
“We’ve been playing basketball all our lives,” Lucy said about the reason for their improvement. A middle-school team began when they were in the seventh grade which greatly prepared them to compete at the varsity level, she said.
Abigail’s first love is cross-country where she excelled in helping the girls win the Region 1 Cross Country Championship and she placed third overall.
“We’ve never had a group of athletes at Ocracoke who have had the experience of success that these seniors have had,” said Athletic Director Charles Temple. “Lucy has always been one of the tallest and strongest players on the court, but she has also worked on her game more than almost any player I’ve seen.”
Katie, in her junior year she became a potent scoring threat.
“Abby epitomizes the kind of hustle and intensity that coaches absolutely love,” Temple said. “It’s the kind of thing that you can’t easily teach but that makes a difference on every possession.”
“This group of seniors have shared the leadership responsibility, team goals, vision and commitment that turned our girls’ sports into cohesive and successful teams,” added Principal Walt Padgett.
The young women who were honored at the last home game will move on to higher education. Abigail plans to enter into a dental hygiene program, Lucy in nursing and Katie in becoming a teacher.
They plan to listen to the Dolphins games next season online with wovv.org and attend games.