South Stanly men claim YVC Tourney basketball title, top North Stanly

Published 10:40 am Monday, February 26, 2024

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The South Stanly men’s basketball team entered Friday’s Yadkin Valley Conference tournament finals having never won a conference tourney crown for many years.

South entered the finals against county rival North Stanly with each team having won a game against the other in the regular season. The Bulls won the school’s first outright regular-season title in a long time by beating North last Thursday at home.

Eight days later, South pulled away from the Comets in the second half and claimed the conference tourney, 63-44.

Drew Gaddy led the Bulls (22-4) with 21 points while Gavyn Miller added 20.

Jalen Walker led three in double figures for North (19-7) with 13 points. Jack Williamson, who was recognized after the game as the 2024 YVC Player of the Year, added 11. Gavin Helms also had 11 for the Comets.

North led 23-19 with 1:38 left in the second quarter, but a 6-0 push in the final minutes of the first half put South up for good, 25-23.

The third quarter was all South Stanly. The Bulls opened with a 7-0 run and outscored North 19-8 in the period. The Comets went seven minutes without a field goal in the third as South led by 15 at the end of the quarter.

“We knew we didn’t play our best ball in the first half,” South head coach Sean Whitley said. “We knew we needed to take care of the ball a little better than we did. We were a little flat offensively.”

Whitley said what got his team going in the second half was the team’s defense on Walker and Williamson.

“We wanted to make it as hard on them as possible because they’re both good basketball players. I think once we make it a little difficult on them, it took the wind out of them a little bit, and we finally found that gear we’re used to playing.”

South is seeded seventh and will host No. 26 East Wilkes (10-14) Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the opening round of the 1A Western Region of the state playoffs.

North has the top 2A seed from the conference and is seeded 10th in the first round of the playoffs. The Comets will host No. 23 Bandys (15-10).

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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