CALYPSO – An impressive, uncommon journey by the North Duplin Middle School softball, volleyball and girls’ basketball teams hasn’t been too surprising to head coach Danielle Hoffer.
To say the Rebels are on an unprecedented run is an understatement.
It started with an unbeaten campaign on the softball diamond.
Next came a perfect season in volleyball.
Less than a week ago, North Duplin became the “Triple-Title Team” with an unbeaten performance on the hardwood.
That’s three Duplin County Middle School Conference championships with 46 opponents left in the Rebels’ wake.
“Yes, there is a lot of talent,” Hoffer said. “Yes, they worked really hard, but the chemistry between the players is something super special that I haven’t experienced before. The spirit inside the girls on this team is very uplifting, encouraging and they are all super dedicated.”
The Rebels (14-0 overall) displayed an aggressive, competitive edge that the opposition couldn’t match each time they stepped onto the court.
No superstar emerged on any given day. Each player accepted their respective role, whether it was to direct the offense, stick to an opponent like chewing gum or get floor burns diving for loose balls.
North Duplin secured home-and-away wins against county middle school rivals BF Grady, Beulaville, Chinquapin, Wallace, Rose Hill-Magnolia, Kenansville and Warsaw.
“Everybody worked as hard as they can and that’s the biggest difference between this team and teams we’ve had in the past,” Hoffer said. “Every single one of these girls has given 110 percent in any sport that they do … and their homework and academics. I think that their dedication and their desire to do well is what is pushing them.”
Hoffer said the same group plans to play soccer before it dons softball gear in late March.
That’s not good news for other Duplin County middle schools.
Yet, winning games and putting points on the board hasn’t been Hoffer’s focus this season. She coached some of the current North Duplin varsity players and has watched them blossom into young women.
“At the end of the day, I want to make sure these girls are going out into the community and having an impact – not just on the court, not just on the softball field, but in their every day lives post high school,” Hoffer said. “I try to develop them into good young women and to coach them in basketball is just a small way I can do that.”