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CFA basketball teams keep making progress

The Cape Fear Academy Lady Hurricanes, in blue, take on the Cannon School Lady Cougars at Cape Fear Academy. (Photo by Photo by Alan Cradick)

Cape Fear Academy girls basketball coach Ray Beatty hopes to build the Hurricanes into a powerful program. On Friday, his team got a good look at where to go.

In the Cape Fear 3A East-West Challenge on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Hurricane boys and girls teams faced three consecutive NCISAA 3A opponents. The Hurricanes, in their first year competing as a 3A school, haven't won a game yet in the challenge, and the girls team lost Friday to Cannon School, of Concord, 49-17. But Beatty said the challenge provided a number of lessons.

"We're trying to get something from the other team," Beatty said. "The intensity level they're playing at, the way they're playing the game, the discipline. The girls are seeing that. The second half of these games we're down by so many points and then they step it up a little. Now they see we have to do this the whole game."

The Hurricane girls are only 2-8 this season, but Beatty said he hopes to turn Cape Fear into a top-notch program. He said the experience of seeing three tough 3A opponents in succession was instructive.

"This is a trial by fire," Beatty said. "They're getting out there and I'm throwing them in there. I have three eighth graders. Just to set up this program to see where we want to go, and where we have to go. … They're buying in, but it's a hard road."

On Friday, the Hurricanes struggled to keep pace with Cannon School. Cape Fear Academy trailed by 16 after the first quarter and by 23 at halftime. But Beatty said he wanted those kinds of tests.

"I want someone to give us a true measure of how we are," Beatty said. "So we can come back and work harder and the girls can say, ‘OK coach, we got beat by 30 points. We really need to go practice harder and play solid defense.' "

The Cape Fear Academy boys team was in a similar boat. With a number of young and inexperienced players, the boys also struggled, falling to Cannon School 78-44. But Cape Fear Academy coach Loren Baysden was still able to find positives in the lopsided score.

"While we got killed, I thought we stepped it up as far as how we came together as a team," Baysden said. "Even in a crushing defeat."

Baysden added that the Hurricanes are also using the East-West Challenge to get accommodated to the 3A level of play – the largest and most competitive schools in the NCISAA.

"We'll definitely get a lot of film to look at," Baysden said. "I think it's good for these guys to be focusing on how they're going to be playing every minute of the game. We just lost by 30, and we played harder than in some games where we lost by two."

And the hope is that in the future, the Hurricanes will reap the benefits of tough losses now.

"And this is not going to help us much this year," Beatty said. "But it will help us down the line. And you won't see scores like this in the future."