Maren Donlon, right, shoots for the winning Ocracoke Lady Dolphins Feb. 15 at home, 47-37. Photo: C. Leinbach

By Richard Taylor

Ocracoke’s varsity girls’ basketball team chalked up two more impressive wins this week as the top-seeded Lady Dolphins move into the first round of the Atlantic 5 1A conference tournament in the Tank today at 4:30 p.m.

Bear Grass gave Ocracoke an unexpected Valentine’s Day gift as the third-place Bears fell to the first-place Dolphins Monday evening in Martin County, 57-48.

The Lady Dolphins outscored the Bears in every quarter, leading 26-20 at the half. The varsity Dolphins did not fare well, falling to the Bears 51-18.

After a long bus ride from Bear Grass and a midnight ferry trip from Hatteras, both teams arrived back in the village at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Even though she did not get to sleep until 2:30 a.m., girls coach Kadi Richardson had her team ready to play against Columbia in their final regular season game Tuesday afternoon in the Tank (aka at home).

Dolphins varsity boys defeated Columbia in a decisive 50-32 victory Feb. 15 at home (in the Tank). Photo: C. Leinbach

Despite little sleep and all-day classes, the Lady Dolphins did not disappoint cheering fans stomping the gym bleachers and those listening to WOVV’s live broadcast as they defeated the second-place Columbia Wildcats 47-37 to finish the regular season 8-0 in conference, 12-3 overall.

Not to be outdone by the girls, Coach Frank Moore’s varsity boys avenged a 50-40 January road loss to Columbia by defeating the Wildcat boys, 53-32.

The boys played perhaps their best game of the season, with eight players scoring. Senior Rosalio Villanveva led the Dolphins with 14 points, including driving layups and free throws. Davis Grant netted 13 and Landon Fuller had 11.

Moore and assistant Charlie Ralston were all smiles as they walked out of the gym Tuesday night. “It took us all year to finally get an effort I’m really proud of,” said the beaming Moore. “With what these kids have gone through this year, and to play like they did in the last home game of the season, it’s a great accomplishment. They got their shots when they needed to. It took us all year to finally get an effort I’m really proud of.”

Asked if he heard the Dolphin crowd yelling “Frank, Frank, Frank” at games end, Moore quipped, “It’s better than being booed, I’ll tell you that. Maybe this will carry over until tomorrow.”

Atlantic 5A tournament play begins this afternoon (Feb. 16) with the first-place Lady Dolphins in the Tank against the fourth-place Hatteras Hurricanes at 4:30 p.m. The fourth-place Ocracoke boys play away at first-place Bear Grass.

If the Lady Dolphins — undefeated in the conference, 8-0 — win today, they will play the winner of Wednesday’s matchup between second-place Columbia and third-place Bear Grass, Friday evening (Feb 18) in Hatteras.

Ocracoke School Principal Leslie Cole makes sure the gym floor is clean between games. Photo: C. Leinbach