By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor
Sunday, January 5, 2014 —
The Albemarle varsity basketball teams returned to the hardwood on Friday night with a long road trip to Chatham Central for a doubleheader against the Bears out of the Yadkin Valley Conference East.
Chatham Central 49
The Bulldogs girls’ squad had not won a game at Chatham Central since the 2010-11 season, when Albe marle center Akela Branch, then a freshman, scored 11 points in a 47-45 win.
Three seasons later, Branch continued her strong senior campaign with another double-double as the Bulldogs overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to earn a three-point road win.
Branch led Albemarle (8-2) with 28 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the field, along with 17 rebounds, four steals and four blocked shots.
Sophomore guard Kyleigh McLendon added 13 points for the Bulldogs.
Ashley Hudson led Chatham (5-5) with 18 points and Gracie Brown added 11.
Trailing 29-19 at halftime, the Bulldogs outscored the Bears 33-20 in the second half and held Chatham to six points in the final period for the victory.
“It was a great team win; our defense really came through and got key stops,” Bulldogs head coach Eric Davis said.
“Chatham came out and played a great game. We still have a lot to work on and need to continue to try to get better every day.”
A 11 8 19 14 52
CC 17 12 14 6 49
A – Akela Branch 28, Kyleigh McLendon 13, Currie 5, Howard 2, Williams 2, Hudson 2.
CC – Gracie Brown 11, Maness 9, Ashley Hudson 18, Williamson 2, Moody 4, Rives 2, Cole 3.
Chatham Central 49
The Albemarle boys’ jumped out to a fast start then held off the host Bears for a 13-point road win.
Andre Ridenhour led four in double figures for Albemarle (8-1) with 12 points, while Zack Burke led Chatham Central (4-5) and all scorers with 15 points.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 16-point lead after one quarter and led 38-25 at halftime but the Bears rallied and started knocking down three-pointers to pull within four points after three quarters of play. Chatham Central finished the game hitting 6-of-11 from the three-point arc (55 percent).
Albemarle turned up the defense in the final period and outscored the Bears 12-3 for the win.
The Bulldogs return to Yadkin Valley Conference West play on Tuesday night at home against South Stanly. Albemarle is 2-0 in the YVC-W while South Stanly is 0-2 in the new subdivided conference.
A 18 20 12 12 62
CC 2 23 21 3 49
A – Andre Ridenhour 12, Laquavius Ratliff 10, Lee Autry 10, Bryan Blanton 10, Nivens 9, Ellis 7, Swaringen 3, Baldwin 1.
CC – Zack Burke 15, Matt Clark 12, Chris Murchison 11, Moore 6, Polston 3, Mitchell 2.