ALBEMARLE — Despite losing its first game of the 2021-22 season back in November, the North Stanly Comets girls’ basketball team has turned its campaign around by pairing a nine-game winning streak with a holiday tournament championship.
The Comets (10-1, 3-0 Yadkin Valley) defeated the Porter Ridge Pirates (6-6, 0-0 Southern Carolina) 57-41 on Dec. 29 to win the West Stanly Christmas Classic basketball tournament title.
That championship victory for North Stanly was preceded by wins in the first two rounds of the event — the Comets defeated tournament host West Stanly (1-11, 0-0 Rocky River) 56-35 on Dec. 27 in the first round and used a 61-22 finish to take down Gray Stone (3-5, 1-2 Yadkin Valley) on Dec. 28 in the second round.
In the tournament finale, freshman Shalyn Bell led the Comets with 20 points while junior Paris Bennett had 15 points and junior Nyleiah White added 10 points.
Following the tournament, first-year coach Regan Allen and the Comets defeated Mount Pleasant (5-8, 1-2 Yadkin Valley) 58-39 on Tuesday for their first game of 2022. The team will now have a road rematch with West Stanly on Wednesday.
The North Stanly girls’ team wasn’t the only group of Comets participating in a holiday tournament, as the school’s boys’ team finished as the runner-up in the Comet Christmas Classic hosted at Pfeiffer University’s Merner Gym.
The Comets (7-5, 2-1 Yadkin Valley) defeated Montgomery Central (2-7, 0-0 Mid-Piedmont) 78-52 in the first round on Dec. 28 before moving past Piedmont (5-6, 0-0 Southern Carolina) in the following day’s second round with a 40-32 win.
In the championship matchup of the tournament Dec. 30, the Concord Spiders (9-2, 1-1 South Piedmont) took home the title with a 69-66 victory over the Comets.
After the game, the official North Stanly basketball social media account acknowledged the awards given to five players in the tournament: “Congrats to the following for making the All-Tournament team of the Comet Christmas Classic: North Stanly’s Clay Hatley and Dyson Bell as well as Concord’s Brayden Blue, James Smith and Johnakin Franklin (MVP).”
The Comets were set to open the 2022 portion of their schedule Tuesday with a visit from Mount Pleasant (9-4, 3-0 Yadkin Valley) and will face Albemarle (4-5, 1-1 Yadkin Valley) on the road Friday.
Although the Comets lost two of their first three games of the season, they now sit at third place in the conference standings after winning four of their last six.