Albemarle women’s basketball season ends on the road

With the 2020 season stopping just short of the state championship series, Albemarle’s opponent in Saturday’s third round of the 1A women’s basketball state playoffs, the Murphy Bulldogs, earned a co-championship.

Murphy followed it with a 1A state title last season and entered Saturday’s game as the No. 1 seed, hosting Albemarle.

Albemarle, the No. 8 seed in the West Region, found itself down early, and despite a rally in the opening period, lost on the road to Murphy, 66-36.

Amari Baldwin finished her freshman season by leading Albemarle (19-8) with 12 points. For the season, the Albemarle point guard finished with 497 points.

Bianca Robinson added 10 points for Albemarle while Kai Spencer just missed double figures, finishing with nine.

Torin Rogers led Murphy (26-3) with 22 points.

Murphy opened the game with a 7-0 run. Albemarle rallied to get close but eventually trailed after one quarter, 14-5. By halftime, Murphy built a 38-12 lead. It outscored Albemarle 28-24 in the second half.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the support that traveled all that way,” Albemarle head coach Eric Davis said. He said the players “went into a hostile environment and never quit battling. Unfortunately for (Murphy), they will see us again at some point and we have them circled. Hopefully, next time it will be at our gym with our community and fans returning the favor.”

Davis said his team saw “the No. 1 team in the state and our girls learned that if they worked hard, stayed focused on each other and the process, we can compete with anybody we step on the floor with. The future is extremely bright.”

Albemarle finished as the top 1A seed in the combined 1A/2A Yadkin Valley Conference and second overall, reaching the third round for the first time since the 2015 playoffs.

“It was a great season. I’m proud of all the girls for their hard work, chemistry and love for each other. This group loves their school and community, and battles to represent them. They take pride in Albemarle and being a Bulldog,” Davis said.

Albemarle did not have a senior on this year’s team, and Davis said next year “what you are going to see is a very motivated team…our goal is to bring a state title to Albemarle.”

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