While last season’s high school basketball action was limited to a shortened schedule that ran from January to February, the upcoming season is just around the corner with a full slate of games for Stanly County’s five schools. Here is a look at how the local varsity teams are shaping up ahead of their season openers.
West Stanly Colts (Rocky River Conference 2A/3A)
2020-21 Records: 11-2, 8-1 (boys) — 9-3, 8-2 (girls)
Now in his 12th coaching year with the Colts boys, John Thompson returns with a much different team than the one that defeated Forest Hills to win the RRC tournament in February. Austin Medlin and Trevor Kelly were among the six players who played the majority of the Colts’ minutes but have since graduated, leaving behind a unit of seniors that include Jacob Lisk and Charlie Carpenter.
The team will begin its season on Nov. 22 with a home game against Albemarle before facing South Stanly the following night in a second nonconference matchup.
On the West Stanly girls’ side of the court, fourth-year coach Chad Horn is hoping to build on the team’s success from last season. The Colts were unable to overtake Forest Hills for first place in the conference but still reeled off five consecutive wins to end the season with a second-place finish.
The girls will open their nonconference schedule with home games versus Albemarle on Nov. 22 and Charlotte Latin on Nov. 30 as seniors Lilly Hall and Maryn Mauldin hope to lead their team to its third-straight winning season.
North Stanly Comets (Yadkin Valley Conference 1A/2A)
2020-21 Records: 11-3, 8-0 (boys) — 7-4, 6-2 (girls)
In his first campaign as the coach of the Comets boys last year, George Walker led North Stanly to an undefeated conference record and first place in the YVC before losing to Pine Lake Prep in the first round of the state playoffs.
The junior season of YVC Player of the Year Dyson Bell — also an SCJ 2020-21 Student-Athlete of the Year winner — showed that the 6-foot-6 forward can lead his group to victory during his upcoming year. The Comets’ schedule begins with home matchups against Carolina International on Nov. 22 and Uwharrie Charter on Nov. 23.
Replacing Greg Speight, first-year coach Regan Allen will lead a Comets girls’ squad that climbed to third place in the YVC standings despite not having any seniors on the roster. North Stanly eventually reached the first round of state playoffs but was knocked out by Hiwassee Dam in a 64-35 road game.
Now with five seniors on the team, the Comets will look to uproot North Rowan at the top of the conference. The season will kick off on Nov. 23 with Uwharrie Charter at home before West Stanly comes to town on Dec. 1.
South Stanly Rebel Bulls (Yadkin Valley Conference 1A/2A)
2020-21 Records: 4-9, 3-5 (boys) — 4-6, 3-5 (girls)
Both the South Stanly boys’ and girls’ teams are hunting for winning records after each won only four games last season. Bulls athletic director Sean Whitley — a fifth-year boys’ coach and third-year girls’ coach — will once again lead the two groups.
Sophomore Drew Gaddy, junior Omaurion Eldridge and senior Carson Lowder will likely all see an increased role for the Bulls boys, whose season begins on Nov. 23 with a road matchup at West Stanly. That game is followed up by home games versus North Moore on Nov. 30 and Anson on Dec. 2.
The South Stanly girls’ schedule will kick off with a pair of home contests: Anson (Dec. 2) and Southwestern Randolph (Dec. 3). Last season, the Bulls lost four of their first six games but were able to finish the season by winning two of their final four games. Juniors Jacy Noble and Keeli Crisco both return for their senior campaign.
Albemarle Bulldogs (Yadkin Valley Conference 1A/2A)
2020-21 Records: 6-6, 3-5 (boys) — 0-7, 0-6 (girls)
Albemarle coach Marc Raye is set to begin his seventh season with the Bulldogs boys as they hope to rise from the middle of the pack in their conference. During the 2020-21 season, the Bulldogs found their groove midway through their schedule but fell short in three of their last four games. The slate ended on a positive note, however, with a nonconference victory over Cabarrus Charter.
The team will start the season with matchups against West Stanly on Nov. 22 and Dec. 3.
Ninth-year coach Eric Davis and the Bulldogs girls failed to win a game last season and were outscored by a combined 401-205 in their seven matchups. This year’s lineup will again be on the young side with three sophomores and six freshmen.
Albemarle will face West Stanly on Nov. 22 before challenging Forest Hills in a home game the following night.
Gray Stone Day Knights (Yadkin Valley Conference 1A/2A)
2020-21 Records: 0-10, 0-8 (boys) — 4-4, 4-4 (girls)
With two new coaches in the mix, this upcoming season will be a rebirth for a Gray Stone basketball program that has been stuck in a period of instability. Jaquan Goldston is taking up coaching duties for the Knights boys as Brittany Teller does the same for the Knights girls.
Coming off a winless season, the boys will jump immediately into conference play with an absence of nonconference opponents on this year’s schedule. The Knights are scheduled to play Mount Pleasant in a road game on Dec. 10.
The Gray Stone girls’ season is set to begin on Dec. 3 as North Moore comes to town before the Knights will travel to South Davidson five days later.