Matched up against fourth-seeded East Surry in the third round of state playoffs Saturday night, the fifth-seeded Gray Stone girls’ basketball team saw its season come to an end.
Despite their 65-44 road loss to the Cardinals (20-5, 9-1), the Knights (25-2, 15-1) still hold the honor of being the 2019-20 Yadkin Valley Conference regular season and tournament champions.
No other Stanly County team had a better record or made it as far into state playoffs as the Knights did this year. No other Stanly team survived the first round of playoffs over this past week.
In a 67-37 loss, the 29th-seeded North Stanly girls (8-14) were bounced in the first round at fourth-seeded John A. Holmes (26-3).
The 14th-seeded South Stanly boys (19-7) suffered a 64-61 home loss in overtime to 19th-seeded Queens Grant (19-11).
Along with North Rowan (21-8) and Chatham Central (22-6) in a three-way tie, the Bulls concluded the season as YVC regular season champions at 14-2 in conference play. It was the first time South Stanly had accomplished that goal of becoming a conference champion since 1966.
Entering the first round of state playoffs as a 26th-seed, the North Stanly boys (14-12) were defeated on the road 70-67 by seventh-seeded North Rowan. It was the third time this season the Comets were bested by the Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers made the biggest playoff run of any YVC boys’ team — they were eventually handed a 71-51 road loss in the third round by second-seeded Winston Salem Preparatory Academy (20-8).
In the Rocky River Conference, the two West Stanly teams experienced a similar postseason fate: a conference finals loss to RRC champion Forest Hills followed by a first round playoff loss.
Coming off a 61-42 loss to Forest Hills (18-8), the 15th-seeded West Stanly girls (16-11) fell 53-42 at home to 18th-seeded West Wilkes (19-7).
The 25th-seeded West Stanly boys (16-12) traveled to eighth-seeded Lake Norman Charter (22-7, 13-1) but were narrowly defeated by a score of 59-54. The Colts’ previous matchup was a 69-53 loss to Forest Hills (28-0).
The first-seeded and undefeated Forest Hills boys’ team is currently the only RRC squad still alive in the 2A state playoffs.
The Yellow Jackets defeated Pisgah (12-15) in the first round, Salisbury (17-10) in the second round, Lake Norman Charter (22-7) in the third round, and are now linked up with fifth-seeded Mountain Heritage (26-1) in the fourth round (the game occurred after press time).
The 2019 state playoff champions included the Bishop McGuinness (28-4) boys and Pamlico County girls (29-2) in the 1A bracket, as well as the Farmville Central boys (32-0) and Mountain Heritage girls (29-0) in the 2A bracket.