Albemarle women’s basketball tops North Stanly for YVC tourney title
Published 1:28 am Saturday, February 18, 2023
The two remaining teams in the 2023 Yadkin Valley Conference women’s basketball tournament were both Stanly teams and highly ranked in their respective classifications.
In Friday’s finals at Jay M. Robinson High School in Concord, Albemarle — the top seed in the conference tourney and No. 7 ranked team in the 1A West, faced the No. 13 ranked North Stanly Comets, who will be in the upcoming 2A Western region of the state playoffs.
Facing each other for the fourth time this season, Albemarle built a 20-point lead and outlasted a late Comets run for a 65-58 win and the tournament title.
Amari Baldwin, one of five All-YVC selections, scored 18 of her team-high 24 points for Albemarle (21-4) in the first half. Jasmine Brown added 13 and Nyleiah White, who played for North last season, reached double figures with 11 points.
YVC Player of the Year Shalyn Bell led North (20-4) and all scorers with 25 points, including 10-of-15 at the foul line. Freshman Lexie Brown added 15 while senior Paris Bennett had 10.
The win was Albemarle’s third over North this season, including the finals of the West Stanly holiday tournament and a regular-season win at Pfeiffer.
Albemarle missed 13 shots in the first quarter, including seven three-point attempts, while North took the lead three times in the opening period. A Baldwin three at the buzzer put the Bulldogs up 14-12 after one.
Baldwin said hitting back-to-back threes at the end of the first got her going offensively.
“We were a little flat in the beginning. Coming out in the second, we had a lot more intensity and effort,” Baldwin said.
Trailing 18-16 with 4:48 left in the first half, the Bulldogs went on a 20-2 run over the rest of the quarter, with all five starters contributing points. Albemarle led 36-20 at halftime.
The Bulldogs led by as much as 22 in the third quarter, but North made a late push. Trailing 64-47 with 2:57 left in the fourth, the Comets scored the next 11 points of the game, getting to within six in the final 20 seconds on a Carlye Stamper three.
Albemarle ran the clock down to under 10 seconds and made a free throw to secure the win.
“I would like to say I made an adjustment, but really we ran our offense and executed,” Albemarle head coach Eric Davis said regarding the second-quarter run.
Davis also credited his bench players for giving them key minutes.
The two teams will both play Tuesday in the playoffs, with published projections stating both teams will host first-round games.