By Becca Spilka, Eddie Bates and Josh Imholte

The squeaking of sneakers against the polished floor, the bang of the burnt orange ball bouncing across the room from player to player, and the jarring noise of the unforgiving buzzer.

These are the sights and sounds of a new basketball season gearing up at Dutch Fork, and this year the Lady Foxes are going for their fourth state championship.

With the significant success of the previous seasons, players draw inspiration from their fellow teammates to earn the title of state champs.

“For the most part [the team has been very successful] in the past, of course, working hard and having older girls to look up to and to see how they play and take after their style,” senior Morgan Williams said.

Being a member of the varsity team presents a new league of competition in comparison to junior varsity as well as bestows a great deal of responsibility on the players to maintain the impressive winning streak.

“At first it was a new experience coming from JV to varsity, but you learn a lot,” junior Olivia Anderson said. “People that I play with, I have been playing with since middle school, so it is a good experience.”

An obvious goal for the team this year is to win their fourth state championship, but beyond that the players express a desire to play with more tenacity and dedication than ever before.

“A personal goal of mine is that I want our team to play hard at all times, to play with more heart and understand the game more.” Morgan said.

Several of the players have made it their personal goals to attain the team’s fourth consecutive state title.

To get the drive that they need to thrive off that ambition, the team draws a generous amount of their inspiration from their devoted coach, Faye Norris.

“She really wants us to work hard, and she wants what’s best for us,” junior Jayla Eskew said. “She wants us to look nice on the court. It’s a blessing to play under her, considering the strengths that she has. She is a very nice person.”

The six senior players must say goodbye to their fellow teammates this year and hope to leave behind a legacy and inspiration for other students that will have to fill their shoes.

“Of course [I want to] make more history by winning another state championship,” Morgan said. “I would like other girls to be inspired to come out and try out for the basketball team and get involved in basketball.”