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Gray Stone women advance to third round, topple host Albemarle

After two regular season losses to Albemarle this year, Gray Stone Day’s women’s hoops team defeated the Bulldogs, 59-43, in the second round of 1A state playoffs Thursday at Albemarle.

The 12th-seeded Knights (21-6) used a dominant second half to advance to victory in what was at halftime a tied game with Albemarle, 22-22.

For the Yadkin Valley Conference-leading Bulldogs (26-3), it was the team’s first loss of the season to a YVC opponent.

Zycoria Tillman led Albemarle with 16 points while Armani Baldwin added eight for the Bulldogs.

“You know the old saying: it’s tough to beat a team three times. We didn’t rest on that because Albemarle is a great team,” Gray Stone Day head coach Robert Stack said. “It’s unfortunate we both had to meet in the second round.”

Gray Stone junior guard Danielle Werts scored the majority of the Knights’ crucial second-half momentum plays – the Bulldogs had no answer for her multifaceted approach.

“Danielle’s ability to handle the ball, score and attack with the basket makes her an inside and outside threat,” Stack said. “I know what my team is capable of when they turn it on. When we do what we need to do offensively, we’re a pretty good team and we showed that tonight.”

The Bulldogs started off hot with a 14-9 lead going into the second quarter but combined for only 14 points in the next two quarters, while the Knights put up 29 points in that timeframe.

Gray Stone had advanced to this matchup with a 42-37 win over 21st-seeded Highlands (10-15) on Tuesday; the Bulldogs moved on by crushing 28th-seeded South Stokes (6-19), 64-32.

While Albemarle’s stellar season has come to a halt, the surging Knights will continue in the third round of the tournament as they take on fourth-seeded Union Academy (26-2) Saturday at 6 p.m. The Cardinals are coming off a 61-45 win over 20th-seeded Pine Lake Preparatory (13-13) Thursday night.