This basketball season has been like a dream for Silver Bluff High School senior Maria Dunbar.
"The team has been wonderful," she said of Silver Bluff's undefeated run. As of Tuesday, the Lady Bulldogs were 17-0. "It feels good."
The streak has been a pleasant surprise for coach Robbie McKenzie.
"I knew we were going to have a young team; I'm playing four freshmen," he said. "I lost nine seniors. These freshmen have really stepped up."
Dunbar is one of four seniors on the team, and her leadership has been vital to the team's success, McKenzie said.
"She has really helped keep them focused," he said.
Winning the region and the state championship would be the highlights of her high school career, said Dunbar, who has been playing basketball since she was 7 years old.
"I love the fast pace of the game," she said.
Dunbar, a guard, averages about 12 points a game. She scored 15 points in Tuesday's 63-32 victory over Edisto.
"She has improved every single year I've had her," McKenzie said. "She improved a ton from last year to this year."
Dunbar has played with traveling teams during the summer. Last summer she participated in the People to People Sports Ambassador program for 10 days in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Basketball players from several countries attended the event. Despite language barriers, they learned to communicate on the court.
"It was hard at first, but once you got to know them, it was easier and easier," she said.
McKenzie believes the experience benefited Dunbar.
"She's gone from averaging seven points a game to 12 points a game this year," he said. "She's a great outside shooter."
The Lady Bulldogs' regular season ends at home Tuesday against Barnwell.
After basketball season, Dunbar plans to run track. She participates in other school activities and is a member of the Beta Club and DECA.
Dunbar wants athletics to be a part of her life after high school. She plans to major in education in college and become a physical education teacher.
She hasn't decided on a college but is considering Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Charleston Southern University.
Reach Charmain Brackett at firstname.lastname@example.org.