• 75°

Knights take second place in YVC with win at South Davidson

DENTON — The Gray Stone women’s basketball team secured second place in the Yadkin Valley Conference and likely a home game in the state playoffs with a 54-41 win Wednesday against South Davidson.

Danielle Werts led the Knights (17-5, 12-3 YVC) with 23 points, including 10-of-12 in the game on foul shots. The Gray Stone guard was clutch in the fourth quarter for the Knights, hitting 8-of-10 at the line.

Lillie Austin added 10 for Gray Stone in the win.

Senior forward Mallory Gardner led South Davidson (11-11, 9-6) and all scorers with 26.

Forcing someone other than Gardner to score was the focus of the Knights’ defense, according to coach Robert Stack.

“We knew we had to stop (South Davidson) from getting the ball into Mallory…we made some adjustments to front her a little bit to keep her from getting the ball so we could put pressure on the other girls to step up,” Stack said.

Gray Stone led by one after one quarter on a buzzer-beating offensive putback by Secorra Medley, going on to outscore the Wildcats in each quarter. The Knights built a six-point halftime lead, then opened the third quarter with a run to force a South Davidson timeout. The Wildcats stayed close, but the Knights pulled away eventually at the free-throw line.

“Every now and then we have an offensive spurt and the goal is to maintain that,” Stack said about the Knights’ efforts early in the second half. “We can play defense, but we’re not always sure what’s going to happen offensively.”

One player who has been leading the team in scoring in a number of recent games is Werts. The Gray Stone guard said she has worked on her passing, adding in practice she has worked on “knowing when to drive and when to shoot.”

Werts added the team tried to put out of its mind what happened last game with the Wildcats, saying “we really didn’t play that well; in this game we really stepped it up.”

After last week’s game at Gray Stone, a win for the Knights, Werts said tension existed between the two teams, but on Wednesday the Knights “got past it; we ignored it and just played our game.”

With the win, Gray Stone will be seeded with the automatic second-place qualifiers for the field of 64 in the upcoming 1A state playoffs. The Knights will also play at home in the first round Monday of the YVC conference tournament. South Davidson will host the YVC semifinals Wednesday and the finals Friday.

Before the postseason, Gray Stone has one more regular-season game Friday when the Knights host North Stanly, who lost at North Rowan, 63-37.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

email author More by Charles