Lumberton HS players remain hopeful for chance to play for basketball title

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LUMBERTON, N.C. (WNCN) – A handful of Lumberton players returned to their home court this week for the first time in more than a month.

“It feels good just to be out here with my boys. It feels great,” said senior guard Jadarian Chatman.

The Pirates can’t practice as a team, so the few minutes together brought back special memories of a season that was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Players have been working extra hard to stay in touch since the team can’t have organized gatherings.

“We’ve been texting making sure everybody is good, making sure everybody is healthy still,” Chatman said. “We’re making sure everybody is getting up shots up somewhere at the house or something.”

Are all those shots all for naught? The players know there won’t be any games if they can’t get back to school.

“We really want to play this game,” said senior forward Michael Todd. “I hope the state lets us play it because I want to experience this once in a lifetime experience.”

“It’s more along the lines of, as coaches, you kind of want closure,” added head coach Bryant Edwards.

Win or lose, that closure would be big for the Lumberton community. Just playing for a state title would be a boost for the town hungry for positive news.

“It gets a bad name,” Edwards said of Lumberton. “It gets a bad rap. They’ve been through a lot with the hurricanes and other tragedies that have happened in the past few years, but this is a special place and special things can happen.”

It doesn’t seem fair to Lumberton that there is a good chance a team that brought the community together won’t get to finish the job by playing for the state championship. Some would feel cheated. Not the Pirates.

“No, I wouldn’t feel cheated,” said senior guard Jordan McNeill. “Stuff happens for a reason. I can’t question God so stuff happens for a reason.”

Lumberton is still hopeful the game will be played, even though it may seem like a long shot. The tight-knit group wants one last opportunity to play for themselves and for something bigger.

“We’re just trying to do something good for Lumberton,” Chatman said.

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