By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor
Sunday, December 8, 2013 —
The Gray Stone Knights varsity basketball teams made the trek over to Norwood on Friday night in the Yadkin Valley Conference West opener for the two schools.
Gray Stone 71
South Stanly 65
The last victory that the Knights’ varsity basketball program had celebrated came on Nov. 29, 2011.
That win for Gray Stone, ironically, came at South Stanly, when La’Cario Sellers poured in 36 points and the team connected on eight three-pointers in a 71-67 win over the Rebel Bulls.
On Friday night, it was the free-throw line and clutch early shooting that led Gray Stone to a 71-65 win over South Stanly, ending a 44-game losing streak.
The two teams were whistled for a combined 55 fouls in the game and the game in the second half became a free-throw contest as 36 fouls were called in the half.
At the line, Gray Stone hit 31-of-45 free throws overall (68.9 percent) while South Stanly was 13-of-28 (46.4 percent). In the second half, the Knights shot 26-of-35 (74.3 percent) and South was 11-of-22 (50 percent).
Sam HillJennings came off the bench to lead Gray Stone (1-3, 1-0 YVC-W) with 22 points, including 13 in the second half and a 13-for-17 night at the free-throw line.
Garrett Pope added 12 points for the Knights including 4-of-5 at the foul line.
Dillon Starnes led South Stanly (0-2, 0-1) with 23 points including 10 points in a third-quarter rally for the Bulls. Wes Smith added 14 points including 7-of-14 at the foul line.
South had more chances from the field in the game but hit at a lower percentage than the visiting Knights. The Bulls were 24-of-69 from the field (34.8 percent) and Gray Stone was 19-of-49 overall (38.8 percent).
Trailing 5-4 midway through the first, the Knights went on a 9-2 run over the next two minutes and eventually lead by six after the first period.
Gray Stone led by as much as 11 points in the second period and led by 10 at halftime 29-19.
The Bulls rallied early in the third quarter outscoring the Knights 12-2 over the first three minutes. A Bernardo Granados three-pointer ast the 4:54 mark tied the game at 31.
The two teams battled back and forth at the free throw line in the third until Gray Stone pulled back ahead by five 45-40.
In the fourth, the Knights led by as much as 12 points before the Bulls pulled to within four points 58-54 at the 3:23 mark.
Gray Stone pushed its lead back to nine, then South got buckets from Malik Lomax and Max Bogle to pull to within three points 65-52 with 1:05 left.
The Knights pulled away late hitting 6-of-8 foul shots to earn the six-point victory.
“I am numb,” Gray Stone head coach Myron Harrington said in regards to the win and ending the losing streak.
“I’m proud of how we played, especially when they tied us. We were a little anxious on offense.”
Harrington also talked about how much the win means to the team.
“To have to come out day after day after you lose game after game and keep working and keep playing is a testament to the kids. It’s a glimmer of hope; they know that if they can (win) once), they can (win again).”
The win for Gray Stone also comes without the team’s returning leading scorer from last season, point guard Alex Wang, who will be out a month due to a previous injury.
GS 16 13 16 26 71
SS 10 9 21 25 65
GS – Sam HillJennings 22, Garrett Pope 12, Lantz 8, Mansfield 8, Fink 6, Goodnight 6, Tucker 6, Dowdey 3.
SS – Dillon Starnes 23, Wes Smith 14, Bogle 8, Granados 7, Lomax 6, Smith 3, Harris 2, Holt 2.
Gray Stone 51
South Stanly 41
The Knights entered Friday’s game having won two of three non-conference contests this season, while the Bulls were still in their first week of competition after losing Tuesday at Carolina Christian.
Gray Stone survived the high-pressure defense of South Stanly and improved to 3-1 for the second straight season with a 51-41 win.
Jordan Redmon led the Knights (3-1, 1-0 YVC-W) with 16 points while Tracey Allsbrook added 12 and Kate Sullivan scored 10.
Rachel Nance paced the Bulls (0-2, 0-1) with 16 points and Chelsey Culp added 12.
Neither team shot well in the game, but South’s struggles in the first half to hit from the field put the Bulls behind early. South was just 3-of-21 in the first half (14.3 percent) including 1-of-12 in the second quarter. The Bulls finished stronger in the second half, converting on 10-of-32 shots from the field. For the game, Gray Stone was 15-of-54 overall (27.8 percent).
At the free-throw line, the Bulls held a slight edge, hitting 14-of-28 shots (50 percent) while the Knights were 13-of-31 (41.9 percent).
Gray Stone jumped out to an early five-point lead but the Bulls narrowed the gap to one early in the second. The Knights stretched the lead out to double digits by halftime and led by eight points or more for the majority of the second half.
Knights head coach Robert Stack said that his team’s toughness and depth led to the win.
“We were able to use all 11 girls and we had fresher legs,” Stack said, adding that his team’s defensive pressure and key three-pointers led the Knights to the win.
Gray Stone hosts Carolina Christian on Monday night.
GS 11 14 14 12 51
SS 7 7 13 14 41
GS – Jordan Redmon 16, Tracey Allsbrook 12, Kate Sullivan 10, Ansbro 7, Boss 3, Efird 2, Harrington 1.
SS – Rachel Nance 16, Chesley Culp 12, Carpenter 3, Whitley 3, Curlee 2, Gaines 2, Allen 1.