North Stanly men take second in holiday basketball tourney

Published 9:27 pm Saturday, December 30, 2023

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North Stanly hosted the second annual Comets Christmas Classic this week, reaching the finals of the tournament against the Corvian Community Cardinals.

The Cardinals’ roster includes players such as freshman R.J Moore Jr., the 6-foot-4 son of 1996 UConn national champion Ricky Moore, and Malachi McCutcheon, the 6-foot-5 junior and son of former Pfeiffer standout and current Catawba women’s basketball head coach Terence McCutcheon.

Corvian built a double-digit lead in the second quarter and went on to a 71-55 victory.

North Stanly (10-3) was led by All-Tournament selection Jack Williamson who scored 21 points. Jalen Walker added 17 and was named All-Tournament along with Gavin Helms.

Corvian (6-2) was led by All-Tournament selection Jack Hudson with 23 points, while McCutcheon added 18. Doug Quarles added 14 points and Moore scored 10.

The Cardinals led 12-4 midway through the first and by six after one quarter, 14-8, then an 11-2 run gave Corvian a double-digit lead. At halftime, the Cardinals led 35-18.

“There’s nothing we can practice to simulate how big they are,” North head coach George Walker said. “We missed two layups right off the bat; that could have put us up and build some momentum. They have so many rim protectors.”

Walker said his team played differently in Saturday’s loss, adding his message to the team was “we’re not going to quit.”

The Comets will take on Union Academy on Jan. 5 to open Yadkin Valley Conference play in a rematch from the semifinals of the holiday tournament.

Friday’s Result

North Stanly 70, Union Academy 67

Friday’s game between the two conference foes came down to the wire, but the Comets earned a win in what Walker called a “very intense physical battle.”

Jack Williamson had a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Gavin Helms just missed a double-double with eight points and a team-high 13 boards.

Maddox Lowder added 12 points for North while Jacob Smith and Jalen Walker scored 11 each.

Union Academy led after one quarter, 20-16, but the Comets roared back and outscored their opponents 26-9 in the second period to lead at halftime 42-29.

In the second half, the Cardinals outscored North 17-10 in the third and 21-18 in the fourth. Union got as close as three points with two minutes left, but North was able to hit free throws down the stretch to keep the game just out of reach.

Walker said of Friday’s win: “for our kids’ resiliency was something to build on.”

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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