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Senior reflects on four years of high-school Hoops for Hope

Posted February 6, 2011

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— Playing varsity girls basketball at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh for the past four years has taught Blair Williams something about winning.

"I've been competitive my whole life with both my brothers," Williams said. "We always played against each other and tried to be the best we can be."

Organizing the annual Hoops for Hope basketball game four years in a row has taught her something about giving back.

She chose to base her graduation project on North Carolina State University women’s basketball coach Kay Yow's annual Hoops for Hope, a fund raiser for a cure for breast cancer.

The game is Tuesday night at Athens Drive. All proceeds go to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

Yow passed away two years ago after a long battle with breast cancer. She coached the Wolfpack team for 24 years.

The girls will play Apex High School. Williams hopes a silent auction, and sales of tickets, T-shirts and other pink memorabilia at the game will push her over her $10,000 goal. The three previous games have already raised $8,200 for cancer research.

"Coach Yow has always been a big inspiration to me," Williams said. "Watching her struggle through her battle with breast cancer really touched my heart."

For Williams, that struggle hits close to home. Her mother Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago.

"The event has meant a ton," Susan Williams said. "As a mom, I just couldn't prouder."

The senior basketball player knew the Hall-of-Fame coach from attending her summer basketball camp.

"One of the things she said was never put 'can't' in your vocabulary," she said. She has posters of Yow and the Wolfpack all over her bedroom.

Williams said she hopes to win Tuesday's battle against Apex, but for her, the event is not about winning or losing, it's about defeating a deadly disease.

"I feel like this is bigger than any basketball game," Williams said.

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