Cloudland’s Caraway inks with Belmont Abbey
Published 2:01 am Tuesday, April 20, 2021
BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ROAN MOUNTAIN – The Cloudland Lady Highlanders had a great 2020-2021 campaign winning a tough sub-state game on the road at Oneida and falling to eventual state champion Loretto in the 2021 TSSAA BlueCross State Class A Girls Championship quarterfinals.
Part of that success was due to the guard play of senior Heaven Caraway whose basketball smarts helped to break many a tough press and finding the open teammate to lead to an easy basket.
Like many other basketball players who graduate from high school, Caraway had a desire to continue her basketball career into college and recently was able to make that dream a reality when she inked with Belmont Abbey, located in Belmont, North Carolina.
And just like the Lady Highlanders, the Lady Crusaders made it to this season’s Elite Eight in Columbus, Ohio where they fell to Central Missouri marking the deepest runs the Lady Crusaders have experienced.
Caraway said the opportunity was something that has been a childhood dream.
“It is something that I have always wanted to do since I was little and Belmont Abbey is giving me the opportunity and I just want to be successful,” Caraway said after signing her National Letter of Intent.
“Shateal Davis is my trainer and she was the one who reached out to Belmont Abbey and we had a talk. I went and visited the campus and its a beautiful campus and they have the careers I want to do.
“From a program that is a Class A school to a Division 2 school – I am really excited and that means a lot.”
Caraway was asked how playing for the Lady Highlanders and specifically head coach Matt Birchfield helped prepare her for an opportunity at the next level.
“Matt has been with us since day one and he’s like a dad. He is a good coach and one of the reasons we got to go to state and I am proud of that,” she stated.
“I am going to always love the memories. The girls are the ones that made me fall in love with basketball and it makes me want to continue my career.”
Birchfield felt like Belmont Abbey head coach Jason Williams is getting a special athlete in Caraway.
“She is a special kid that is going to work hard,” Birchfield commented. She is a great kid to coach. She is going to put in a lot of work.
“They are going to get a good kid that they will like to coach and just a special kid to be around.”
Birchfield said that Caraway’s signing is just another example of how the girls’ basketball program at Cloudland continues to move in the right direction.
“It’s great for our school and our program here to have another kid sign and move on to the next level and advance their education and advance their athletic career,” Birchfield stated. “It’s great for our program and another good sign of what we are doing.”
Belmont Abbey competes in the Conference Carolinas which includes local teams King and Lees-McRae.