Holiday basketball tournaments begin in Stanly

Published 3:55 pm Monday, December 27, 2021

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Two holiday basketball tournaments this week at West Stanly and Pfeiffer University will afford the local teams a chance to play three times in as many nights.

West Stanly Women’s Tournament

The Colts will host a six-team tournament. The first game saw Albemarle take a 66-53 win over Piedmont. Porter Ridge and Gray Stone are to play at 4 p.m., with the host Colts taking on county rival North Stanly at 6.

Winners from the two early Monday games play Tuesday at 6, with the winner of the West – North game taking on the loser of the Porter Ridge – Gray Stone game. The losers in the opening and closing games for Monday play on Tuesday at 2 p.m.

The championship final has been set for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Albemarle – The Bulldogs have had a huge turnaround this season after going 0-7 in the shortened 2020 campaign. Albemarle is 7-2 after winning the Anson County women’s tournament Thursday night. Albemarle swept the season series with West Stanly and enter the West tournament with a five-game winning streak.

This season, Albemarle has six promising newcomers which have helped the team succeed, including sophomore forward Destiny Miller and freshman Bianca Robinson, freshman point guard Amari Baldwin and freshmen Jasmine Brown, Keyza Benson and Jordyn Crump. The newcomers join returning sophomore Riley Davis, who led the Bulldogs in three-point shooting last season, All-YVC selection Kai Spencer (sophomore) and sophomore Jamirica Everhart.

Gray Stone – The Knights are 2-3 this season under first-year head coach Brittany Teller.

Gray Stone ended a three-game slide with a 40-30 win Dec. 17 at Union Academy.

North Stanly – The Comets, under first-year head coach Regan Allen, opened the season with a two-point loss to Uwharrie Charter but enter the tournament with a six-game win streak.

Allen played basketball four seasons with the Pfeiffer Falcons before graduating in 2021 with a degree in history education.

Freshman Shalyn Bell leads the Comets averaging a double-double of 13.6 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. The six-foot forward posted a quadruple double Dec. 7 versus Montgomery Central with 16 points 15 rebounds, 10 assists and 12 blocks.

Returners for North who started last season include senior Lexi Goode (8.7 ppg), junior Nyleiah White (11.3 ppg), senior Mary Beth Bowers (5.7 ppg), junior Paris Bennett (7.0 ppg) and sophomore Giavonna Dunlap (4.3 ppg).

West Stanly – The Colts enter the tournament with a 1-8 record. After losing five in a row to start the season, including two losses to Albemarle and defeats to North Stanly and Piedmont, West bounced back with a 43-29 win over Mount Pleasant in a non-conference game.

The Colts enter the tournament on a three-game losing slide including last Tuesday’s loss at Sun Valley, 61-48.

Leading the team in scoring this season are seniors Maryn Mauldin and Kindal Helms.

Piedmont – The Panthers entered the tournament with a 1-6 record, opening the season with four losses before posting a 39-23 win at West Stanly.

Porter Ridge – The season for the Pirates so far has been one of streaks.

Porter Ridge opened with wins versus West Cabarrus, Central Academy and Butler before losing four games in a row. The Pirates won their last game versus Carmel Christian, 46-41, Dec. 17.

J’Yana Salton (14.0 ppg) and Olivia Burke (11.1 ppg) lead the Pirates offensively. Salton also leads Porter Ridge with seven rebounds per game.

Men’s Basketball

Hosted by North Stanly at Merner Gym on the Pfeiffer campus, seven high school teams take the court. West Stanly was forced to withdraw from the tournament because of COVID protocols.

In Tuesday’s opening round, Concord opens with Mountain Island Charter at 5 p.m. Piedmont faces South Stanly at 6:30 p.m. The host Comets take on Montgomery Central at 8.

Gray Stone gets a bye in the first round and plays the Concord – Mountain Island winner Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The losers of the other two first-round games play at 5 p.m. and the winners of the two late games in the opening round take the court at 8 p.m.

Thursday’s championship finals will take place at 8 p.m., with the third-place game at 6:30 p.m. and the fifth-place game at 5.

Concord – The Spiders are 6-2 overall this season, having won six of the team’s last seven games including a 79-64 home win over North Stanly Dec. 15.

Four players average double figures in points per game this season for the Spiders: Johnakin Franklin (17.6), Brayden Blue (13.6), James Smith (12.3) and Kayin Thompson (11.0).

Gray Stone – The Knights have yet to win this season for first-year head coach Jaqon Goldston. Gray Stone averages 37.2 points per game, but has allowed 69.6 points scored.

North Stanly – The host Comets (5-4) posted wins versus Montgomery Central, who North faces in the opening round of the tournament, as well as South Stanly and Forest Hills.

Doug Smith leads North with 12 points and eight rebounds per game while Dyson Bell averages 11 points and also grabs eight boards per game.

Last season, North was 11-3 overall and 8-0 in conference play. Returning starters include Smith and Bell along with Stefan Harris and Clay Hatley. All four were named to the All-YVC team last season while Bell was the YVC Player of the Year and made the All-Region team.

Montgomery Central – The Timberwolves (2-5) opened with a win over Lee County but then lost the next five games in a row. Montgomery ended the slide with a 62-47 win over West Stanly Dec. 16.

Senior Ben Harmon leads the Timberwolves scoring 14.4 points per game with senior Tyrese Scott adding 11.9 points per game. Harmon also leads Montgomery with 10.7 rebounds per game.

Mountain Island Charter – The Raptors (2-6) enter the tournament on a five-game losing streak. The team has wins versus Davidson Day and Bradford Prep.

Omarion Ferguson leads the Raptors with 19.8 points per game while Jake Barber, also a junior, averages 14.4 points per game.

Piedmont – The Panthers are 3-5 this season and enter the tournament on a two-game slide with losses to Forest Hills and Parkwood.

Piedmont’s wins came by sweeping the non-conference series with Parkwood (the loss to the Rebels came in an early tournament) and a 51-37 win over West Stanly.

South Stanly – The Rebel Bulls are 0-10 this season for head coach Sean Whitley.

South averages 49 points per game but has allowed opponents to score 64.5 points per game.

The closest result this season for the Bulls was a two-point loss at former YVC opponent South Davidson, 56-54.

Last season, South was 4-9 overall and returned two starters from last season: Drew Gaddy and Carson Lowder. Chase Crump, Omarion Eldridge and Joe Misenheimer also return for South this season.

Joining the varsity team this season are Matt Fleming and Taewan Morris. Joseph Finlay is scheduled to join the team later this season after being injured in football season.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. 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 won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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