GIRLS BASKETBALL

Hawks off to flying start in 2nd year

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The only undefeated girls basketball team in Chatham County is Seaforth, which sits at 3-0 ahead of its Thursday home game against Western Alamance (6 p.m.)

The Hawks are in their second season as a program. In its first in 2021-22, head coach Charles Byrd’s team went 19-8 overall and won the Mid-Carolina 1A/2A Conference regular season and tournament titles before falling in the second round of the 2A state playoffs to Whiteville. This year’s Seaforth team features all of the same players as the one last winter, a luxury no other county team is experiencing.

Through three games this season, the Hawks are shining on the defensive end, allowing an average of 26.7 points to their opponents so far. Offensively, Seaforth is led by sophomore Gabby White, who is averaging 17.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game this season. Meanwhile, junior Hannah Ajayi, sophomore Peyton Collins and freshman Katherine Leonard are each averaging 8.5 points per game.

The two other Chatham County team with at least three wins entering this week’s action were Chatham Charter and Chatham Central.

Chatham Charter was 4-1 entering Tuesday’s game against Roxboro Community (after press time). The Knights are the top offensive team in the county this season, averaging 58.0 points per game in their first five contests. Last season, head coach Jeff Patterson’s team went 19-9 overall and 7-1 in conference play, eventually losing to Clover Garden School in the second round of the 1A playoffs.

“The first few weeks, we’ve played hard every game, and as a coach, that’s all you can ask for — to compete,” Patterson said. “The girls are starting to buy into the concept of playing their roles. We still have a long way to go. Now we have to get to the point where we share the ball a little bit more.”

Chatham Charter’s top player this season — as it has been for the past several seasons — is senior Tamaya Walden. Through five games, the 5-foot-7 guard averaged a county-high 22.4 points and 6.6 assists per game. Walden is the only active girls player in Chatham County with over 1,000 career points (1,251).

“She’s our glue stick,” Patterson said of Walden. “We have conversations where I let her know, ‘The team follows you. How you practice, that’s how the rest of the team is going to practice. How you play, that’s how the team’s going to play. You’re the leader of this team.’”

Chatham Central, meanwhile, was 3-1 heading into its Tuesday road game at Eastern Randolph. The Bears averaged 46 points per game in their first four contests this season, which have included two wins over South Davidson and a 56-9 beatdown of Ocracoke last Friday.

Central is in its seventh season under head coach Lynda Burke. Last season, the Bears went 14-14 overall but finished second in the Mid-Carolina 1A/2A Conference with a 9-2 league record, with their only two conference losses coming to Seaforth. The Bears started last season 0-4 before rallying to finish at .500 and reach the third round of the state playoffs.

Elsewhere in the county, Northwood picked up its first win of the season last Thursday, 67-39, over Apex. The Chargers — who are the defending 3A state champions — were 1-3 overall heading into their Tuesday game against C.E. Jordan.

Also boasting a 1-3 record entering the week was Woods Charter, which faced Cornerstone Charter on Wednesday. The Wolves are coming off a 2021-22 season that saw them go 12-7 overall and reach the second round of the playoffs before falling to Bertie.

Sports Editor Jeremy Vernon can be reached at jeremy@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @jbo_vernon.

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