The North Stanly (8-7, 5-3) and Albemarle (6-9, 4-4) boys basketball squads are in a tight race to try to catch South Stanly (10-5, 5-2) for the third and final automatic qualifier into 1A state playoffs.
Friday night, the Comets and Bulldogs will square off once again at Pfeiffer University, where the two teams have regularly played since 1988.
“The North Stanly/Albemarle game is held at Pfeiffer University because both of our schools’ gym size,” said North Stanly Athletic Director Bryan Mills. “Pfeiffer is a bit bigger, seating capacity-wise, and we’re able to have more fans come to the games.”
Back on Dec. 13, the Comets took down the Bulldogs, 72-70, in a high-scoring thriller at Pfeiffer’s gym in front of a large crowd.
It hasn’t, however, been a complete 32-year tradition. From 2009 to 2013, their games were played at the schools’ own gyms, but in 2014, the Pfeiffer games resumed and have continued ever since.
“Pfeiffer has been gracious to have that game there,” said Mills. “That’s the reason for the change of location.”
North Stanly’s 81-23 victory over South Davidson (1-13, 1-7) last week put the Comets back in the win column after two straight Yadkin Valley Conference losses: a 66-47 home loss to the conference-leading North Rowan Cavaliers (10-4, 8-0) and a one-point road loss to Chatham Central (11-4, 6-1).
The Comets now trail the South Stanly Bulls in the YVC standings by half a game and will have a home rematch with North Rowan on Jan. 28. The Cavaliers kept their winning streak alive with a 70-62 win over Albemarle last Tuesday.
Before their loss, the Bulldogs had strung together back-to-back wins with an 80-25 rout of winless Gray Stone Day (0-9, 0-6) and win at South Davidson. The Bulldogs currently sit in fifth place in the RRC standings, trailing the Bulls by a game and a half.
Albemarle and South Stanly have yet to play this season but are scheduled for two crucial games in the closing weeks of the regular season. The Jan. 30 contest will be in Albemarle and the Feb. 14 contest will be in Norwood.
As it stands, the Bulls have two of the top three scorers in the conference with senior Justin Gaddy (20.1 points per game) leading the YVC and senior Jaquez Cooke (11.6) in third. Junior Brandon Teller (8.3) and senior Addison Tarlton (8.1) also round out the top-10 scorers.