Ashville’s Northam signs with Millsaps


Photo: Ashville High senior Molly Northam signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Millsaps College on Tuesday, April 2. Pictured, from left: mom Ginny, Molly, dad Justin, sister Lydia. Not pictured is Molly’s brother Brady. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger) 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

Molly Northam’s long and sometimes difficult journey to a college athletic scholarship ended in success.
On Tuesday, April 2, the Ashville High senior signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.
“I feel blessed that God gave me the opportunity to make it this far,” said Nor-tham, who plans on studying medicine with the goal of becoming an optometrist. “I’m also thankful for everyone who has helped me push through all of the adversity.”
Northam acknowledged that she sometimes harbored doubts about her future in basketball during her lengthy rehabs while missing significant portions of her freshman, sophomore and junior years to injury.
“I’d always dreamed of playing past high school, but when I kept getting hurt, I thought it wouldn’t happen. But I just stayed focused on what I wanted, and I got there.”
Northam finally put together a full season in 2023-24. Playing mainly in the post, she averaged 16.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.7 steals, 2.5 assists and 1.3 blocks in 33 games while helping the Lady Bulldogs go 22-11 and win the program’s first area championship in 15 years.
“It was amazing,” she said. “I never thought that I’d be a part of team that good. I was honored to be able to play with all of those girls, and I hope they want to continue that legacy.”
Northam at first had doubts about playing down low but gradually warmed to the center position as the season wore on.
“It turned out to be pretty fun being able to rebound and putting [the ball back up,” she said. “I was kind of scared about playing against some pretty big girls, but I got used to it. You just have to not let the other players get into your mind. I just stayed focused and didn’t let anyone change what I was trying to do.”
Northam will join a Millsaps team that is coming off a 24-5 record, a conference championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Head coach Justin LeBlanc was named the Southern Athletic Association Conference Coach of the Year.
“Coach [LeBlanc] seems like a really cool guy who really wants the best for his players, not only in sports but academically. [The college] just seems like it’s a big family, and it’s very personal, which I liked.”
Northam appreciated the time and effort head coach Caleb Carpenter gave her and the others players over the past three years.
“Before he got here, I didn’t realize how much work you had to put in in basketball,” she said. “Coach Caleb made sure that we did everything we needed to do in order to be successful. He made us work, but we would have not been successful without him. I was really proud that we won an area title for him.”
Northam is Carpenter’s first player to sign a college scholarship.
“Molly was here when I first got here, and she is the epitome of what we want our program to be about,” he said. “Molly showed up for work every day, and she had a great positive attitude. I couldn’t have asked anything more from her. Molly’s had a lot of trials and tribulations during her career with injuries, but she fought through it and preservered and had a great senior year. That’s a testament to her character. She’s really helped get Ashville girls basketball back in the direction where it needs to be at. We’re looking forward to what Molly accomplishes in the future.”

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