Thursday, December 19, 2013 —
In high school varsity basketball games this week, the Albemarle Bulldogs opened Yadkin Valley Conference West play on Monday against Gray Stone, then travelled to Red Cross on Wednesday for non-conference games against West Stanly.
Gray Stone 42
Two seasons ago, the Gray Stone girls’ basketball seasons swept both games against county and conference rival Albemarle, winning by three on the road and by two at home.
Last season, Albemarle flipped the script and swept both Bulldogs to their lowest point total of the season in a 42-38 win.
Erin Ansbro led Gray Stone (4-4, 2-0 YVC-W) with 16 points and Jordan Redman added 10 points.
Akela Branch paced the Bulldogs (3-1, 0-1) with 20 points and 20 rebounds, but the team’s leading scorer, Kyleigh McLendon, was held to seven points.
The Bulldogs hit just 17.7 percent from the field, a fact noted by Albemarle head coach Eric Davis, who said that “it’s tough to win when you shoot 11-of-62.”
The Knights led by a point after a first half in which the visiting Bulldogs got 10 of their 16 points at the free-throw line.
In the third, Branch exploded for 10 points and Albemarle led 33-25 heading to the final period.
“She was starting to get in a rhythm and we couldn’t stop her,” Gray Stone head coach Robert Stack said.
However, in the fourth, Gray Stone’s defense held the Bulldogs to one made shot in the period and five points overall. The Knights got turnovers and hit six key free-throws to seal the win, taking the lead 38-37 late in the game.
“Sometimes, you have to step up in key moments and that’s what we did in the fourth; we got crucial baskets that turned our offense around,” Stack said.
“The girls fought hard and we still had a chance to win down the stretch even with foul trouble,” Davis said in reference to the Bulldogs.
Albemarle hosts Union Academy on Friday while Gray Stone hosts North Stanly.
A 4 12 17 5 38
GS 8 9 8 17 42
A – Akela Branch 20, McLendon 7, Hudson 5, Ti. Currie 2, Ta. Currie 2, Williams 2.
GS – Erin Ansbro 16, Jordan Redman 10, Alsbrook 7, Habeeb 4, Boss 3, Efird 2.
Gray Stone 27
The Bulldogs earned their first win in the new divisional format for the Yadkin Valley Conference with a strong shooting performance in the win over the Knights.
Andre Ridenhour led three in double figures for Albemarle with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, while Lee Autry added 13 points hitting 6-of-7 from the field and adding eight rebounds.
As a team, the Bulldogs were 33-of-61 (54 percent) overall from the field, including 8-of-21 from three-point land (38 percent).
Defensively, Trey Nivens and Bryan Blanton each had five steals to lead Albemarle as the Bulldogs had 24 steals as a team in the game.
A 21 17 20 20 73
GS 6 10 4 7 27
A – Andre Ridenhour 14, Lee Autry 13, Kani Sellers 10, Nivens 8, Sellers 7, Ellis 7, Harris 7, Blanton 6, Baldwin 4, Ratliff 2.
West Stanly 51
Both of the varsity girls squads in Wednesday’s game at West Stanly were coming off of losses on Monday, as West Stanly had lost 48-26 at Sun Valley on Monday.
A furious fourth-quarter rally by the Bulldogs and cluth free-throws in the final seconds lifted Albemarle to a six-point victory.
Kyleigh McLendon led the Bulldogs (4-2) with 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field. Akela Branch nearly missed a triple-double, finishing with 14 points, 16 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Carson Howard had 12 second-half points for the Bulldogs.
Abby Waggoner led the Colts (3-5) with 13 points and Kayla Chapman added 12.
The Bulldogs built a seven-point halftime lead but West went on a 10-2 run, getting eight points from Chapman, to lead 35-32 with 1:52 left in the period.
West led 47-41 with 5:32 left in the fourth before the Bulldogs went on a 12-2 run over the next two minutes to take the lead for good.
The Colts had the ball down by two with under 30 seconds but McLendon stole the ball and got it to Howard, who hit four free throws to clinch the win.
A 13 17 7 20 57
WS 12 11 16 12 51
A – Kyleigh McLendon 22, Akela Branch 14, Carson Howard 12, Montigue 3, Williams 3, Ti. Currie 2, Hudson 1.
WS – Abby Waggoner 13, Kayla Chapman 12, Rushing 8, Moses 7, Summers 6, Brown 2, McIlwaine 2.
West Stanly 44
The Bulldogs improved to 4-0 this season, breaking a third-quarter tie to win by six over the Colts.
Terrace Ellis had a huge fourth quarter for the Bulldogs, hitting 10 of his team-high 14 points in the final period. Lee Autry added 14 points for Albemarle as well. Ellis hit two three-pointers then scored on an open layup out of a timeout, building a seven-point lead with 2:30 left.
Ryan McCormick and Baron Whitley each had 10 points for West, while B.J. Hill, playing in his final home game for the Colts before leaving for N.C. State in January, added nine points.
Hill was honored before the game in a ceremony for having scored his 1,000 career point by West head coach John Thompson.
A 7 8 13 22 50
WS 8 10 10 16 44
A – Terrace Ellis 14, Lee Autry 14, Nivens 8, Blanton 5, Ridenhour 4, Ratliff 3, Sellers 2.
WS – Ryan McCormick 10, Baron Whitley 10, Hill 9, Rowe 5, Hathcock, 4, Barbee 3, Eudy 2, Smith 1.