South Stanly men claim YVC basketball regular season title, top North Stanly

Published 9:14 am Friday, February 16, 2024

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The regular season men’s basketball championship for the Yadkin Valley Conference came down to one game Thursday night when North Stanly and South Stanly, the two top teams, met in Norwood.

In a contest where neither team led by more than six points until the final seconds of the game, South earned the regular-season title with a 64-57 win over the Comets.

Drew Gaddy had a huge night for the Bulls (20-4, 9-1 YVC) with 23 points, including 8-of-8 from the three-point arc. Gavyn Miller scored seven of his 15 in the first quarter for South.

Jack Williamson led North (18-6, 8-2) with 24 points, including 14-of-15 at the foul line, and Jalen Walker added 11.

This is the first regular-season title since the Bulls had a share of the crown in the 2019-20 season.

Thursday’s game came down to free throws in the fourth after the teams battled back and forth for the first three quarters. North led 10-6 midway through the first but an 8-0 run gave South a lead the Bulls kept until the third.

The Comets opened the second half with a 6-0 run to regain the lead, then the two teams either exchanged the lead or were tied seven times in the period.

In the fourth, South never trailed by matching the Comets basket for basket. The Bulls led 53-48 with 3:23 left in the game after a Cohen Whitley 3-pointer.

After a Jay Jackson bucket with 2:09 left made it a one-possession game, free throws were the difference. Gaddy hit 5-of-6 in the quarter and Miller hit 3-of-4 for South, while Williamson was 6-for-6 in the final minute. Gaddy scored the final three points of the game to put the game out of reach.

“With North trying to face guard (Whitley), they really pushed the tempo. We had two players, Drew and Gavyn, get in foul trouble early. We knew if we could slow it down and be more deliberate on offense, that would give us the best chance,” South head coach Sean Whitley said.

Whitley said Drew Gaddy is “always going to give you a solid performances. He finds a way to get to the basket.” He said Miller, “when teams come out and guard him, he is electric getting to the basket. He makes the right play.”

The South coach also credited Jaxon Valor. “There is never a ball I don’t think he can get to. He gets to every loose ball, keeps rebounds alive.”

Gaddy, one of three seniors on the team, talked about what the title win meant for himself and his teammates.

“We have been playing as a team this year, and the last two or three years, we have been building to get to this. We have been trying to get this moment and we finally did it,” Gaddy said. “I’ve been dreaming about this for the last four years and we finally did it.”

South will have the top seed from the conference heading into the 1A Western Region. Ranked 10th heading into Thursday’s game, the Bulls will likely have a first-round home game in the state playoffs starting Feb. 27.

Before that, however, is the conference tournament starting next week. South will have a bye in the first round and will likely play Thursday.

North Stanly will also play next week in the conference tournament, hosting a first-round game Monday.

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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