Albemarle’s season ends in fourth-round loss at Mountain Heritage

This season, the Albemarle women’s basketball team has gotten out to a big lead in many of the team’s victories, including Tuesday’s home playoff win.

In Friday night’s fourth-round game at the 1A West top-seeded Mountain Heritage Cougars, it was the hosts who jumped out to a double-digit lead.

The Bulldogs fell behind early and were eliminated from the playoffs in a 60-41 loss.

Amari Baldwin led Albemarle (25-4) with 24 points, including 3-of-6 at the free throw line.

Friday’s point total for the Bulldogs was the lowest of the season for a team averaging 72.8 points per game.

Ava Webb scored 12 of her team-high 19 points for the Cougars (28-2).

Mountain Heritage jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first quarter. The Bulldogs did not score for the first four-plus minutes of the game. The Bulldogs trailed by 11 after one quarter, 19-8, and the deficit was 14 at halftime, 31-17.

The hosts extended the team’s lead to 24 points after three quarters, 47-23. Albemarle outscored the Cougars in the fourth 18-13.

Albemarle head coach Eric Davis said it was a tough game, adding the Bulldogs “didn’t get the start we wanted, but the girls gave us everything they had, and as a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”

The Bulldogs finished with 25 wins, the most for an Albemarle women’s team since going 26-3 in 2018-19. Albemarle won the Yadkin Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles for the second season in a row.

Regarding the season, Davis said winning back to back YVC titles was a great accomplishemt.

“Everybody counted us out and even had us picked third in the conference,” Davis said. “The girls put in the work and excelled, not only on the court but off. To make it to the regional semifinals in the 1A West is a heck of an accomplishment.”

Albemarle graduates seniors Riley Davis, Kai Spencer and Destiny Miller.

“We will desperately miss our seniors; this group went through the quarantine year, stuck with it and did a great job,” Davis said. “Furthermore, this program is built with a great upcoming group in addition to a strong returning core.”

Baldwin finished her junior season with 726 points. She is second all-time in school history with 1,691 points, trailing Akela Branch’s mark of 1,805.