Sunday, February 23, 2014 —
The Yadkin Valley Conference West girls’ tournament finals saw the teams of Albemarle and North Stanly playing their fourth game in five nights on a larger college-sized playing surface at Pfeiffer University’s Merner Gym.
Albemarle got a big game from the outside along with the team’s monster presence inside the paint in earning a 57-42 win and the tournament championship.
Akela Branch and Kiana Davis-Hill each scored 18 points to lead the Bulldogs (22-3). Davis-Hill hit six three-pointers in the game, while Branch had another double-double with 10 rebounds.
Early in Friday’s game, the offensive pace was slow as both teams adjusted to the larger playing surface in Pfeiffer’s Merner Gym.
Gentry Grubb led the Comets (14-9) with 22 points on 7-of-20 shooting overall and 7-of-14 from beyond the three-point arc.
Trailing 3-2 early in the first, Albemarle scored six in a row to retake the lead. Two late three-pointers in the opening period from Kiana Davis-Hill put the Bulldog up 16-7 with just under 30 seconds left in the quarter.
The Bulldogs pushed the lead to double digits in the second, as Branch scored four of her points early in the period.
Davis-Hill put an exclamation point on the first half for the Bulldogs by banking in a three-pointer from about 25 feet out at the halftime buzzer, putting Albemarle up 31-17.
In the third, the Bulldogs led by 20 before an 8-0 North Stanly run in the final 2:37 of the period brought the Comets to within 12 points.
Albemarle pushed the lead back out to 19 with a 7-0 run over the first 3:18 of the final quarter enroute to the YVC West tournament title.
Overall, the Bulldogs’ offense went 24-of-51 (47.1 percent) including 14-of-26 in the first half (53.8 percent). Albemarle also was 2-of-7 from the foul line.
North Stanly hit 13-of-42 shots overall (31 perent) and 13-of-18 at the free-throw line (72.2 percent).
“I am a proud coach tonight,” Albemarle head coach Eric Davis said.
“These girls have worked hard and we have had contributions from everyone. It’s been a great season so we will enjoy this and then get focused on Monday.”
The Bulldog coach also gave a lot of credit to North and head coach Greg Speight, saying that the Comets “had a great game plan” and giving credit to Grubb in particular for “battling hard” in Friday’s game.
“I would like to thank the community and the school for their support this season,” Davis said about the team’s regular-season and tournament accomplishments.
“We are looking forward to the first round of the state playoffs.”
“We kept the game at a good tempo but we missed some easy shots that could have closed the gap,” North head coach Greg Speight said.
“I was proud of our effort; it is a tough week on the tirls with four games and six days of school.”
Both teams will open play in their respective matchups of the state 1A playoffs Monday night.
NS 9 8 17 8 42
A 16 15 15 11 57
NS – Gentry Grubb 22, Almond 8, Beadle 6, Scott 4, Hogan 2.
A – Howard 4, Currie 2, Kyleigh McLendon 11, Kiana Davis-Hill 18, Akela Branch 18, Smith 2, Montigue 2.