ALBEMARLE — With the release of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s basketball state playoff brackets this past Sunday, it was announced that a few schools from Stanly County are included in this year’s tournament.
The North Stanly boys’ and girls’ teams along with the West Stanly boys’ team all made the cut; the three squads are each set to face their first-round opponents Tuesday night.
The eighth-seeded North Stanly boys (11-2, 8-0 Yadkin Valley Conference) are scheduled to host ninth-seeded Pine Lake Preparatory (14-1, 14-1 PAC 7 Conference) in the state 1A bracket.
The Comets entered the postseason with plenty of momentum. Despite losing their two nonconference matchups to start the season (versus West Stanly and Forest Hills), the Comets responded by reeling off 11 consecutive victories and claiming a YVC championship with their undefeated conference play.
On the girls’ side of the 1A bracket, the No. 14 Comets (7-3, 6-2 YVC), will travel to Murphy to take on third-seeded Hiwassee Dam (8-4, 5-1 Little Smoky Mountain Conference).
The North Stanly girls ended their regular season on a hot streak, winning six of their final seven matchups and placing third in the YVC standings behind North Rowan (9-2, 9-0 YVC) and Uwharrie Charter Academy (7-2, 6-1 YVC). In the Comets’ final game of the season, they recorded a 54-41 road victory over South Stanly (4-6, 3-5 YVC). The win was a bounce-back game for the Comets after previously suffering a 61-49 loss to Uwharrie Charter Academy.
Tuesday night will also feature a playoff matchup for the eighth-seeded West Stanly Colts (11-1, 8-1 Rocky River Conference), who will host the ninth-seeded Atkins Camels (12-1, 12-1 Western Piedmont Conference) in the boys’ 2A bracket.
The Colts had a successful regular season in which they were crowned RRC co-champions along with Forest Hills (10-2 9-1 RRC).
“This is one of only four regular season championships in school history and the first since 2002,” West Stanly head coach John Thompson posted on his Facebook page. “Proud of my guys and their hard work and the way they play for each other every night.”
In order to determine which RRC team would claim the conference’s No. 1 seed for the state playoff bracket, West Stanly squared off with Forest Hills in a one-game tiebreaker on Feb. 19. The Colts had defeated the Yellow Jackets 59-54 back on Jan. 13, while Yellow Jackets returned the favor and beat the Colts 68-51 on Feb. 16. West Stanly responded to that loss with a 63-54 win in the tiebreaker game to ensure a favorable seed in the state playoffs.