ALBEMARLE — The Albemarle varsity girls’ basketball team jumped to an early 11-point lead over the Gray Stone Day Knights and didn’t look back, closing out its regular season schedule with a 55-28 home win on Friday.
“Overall, we were pretty good,” Albemarle coach Eric Davis said. “We came out flat in the second half, but we’re a really good defensive team and we keep getting better.”
Star freshman point guard Amari Baldwin scored a game-high 22 points for the Bulldogs (16-6, 7-3 Yadkin Valley), who have won four consecutive contests and six of their last seven.
“She’s been doing that all season and she’s been extremely consistent in averaging 19 points,” Davis said of Baldwin. “For her being a freshman, she’s done a lot this year — it comes very natural here.”
Baldwin scored 10 of her team’s 15 points in the second quarter, creating most of her shots with a half-court steal followed by a quick layup. Freshman Jasmine Brown added nine points and Albemarle freshman Bianca Robinson had seven.
The Knights (8-11, 4-6 YVC) began the second half trailing 31-11 and managed to keep up with the Bulldogs the rest of the game but were unable to make up any ground. Sophomore Mylee Swaringen had a team-high eight points for Gray Stone, and freshman Mary Church posted six points.
With the regular season finished, the Yadkin Valley Conference postseason tournament was set to begin Tuesday with the championship game scheduled for Friday.
The top two teams in the conference, No. 1 North Stanly (18-2, 10-0) and No. 2 Albemarle, each received first-round byes, while No. 3 Mount Pleasant (9-13, 5-5) fell victim to No. 6 Union Academy (4-18, 0-10) and No. 4 Robinson (9-13, 4-6) defeated No. 5 Gray Stone.
The semifinals and finals will both be played at Mount Pleasant — North Stanly will face Robinson on Wednesday at 6 p.m., while Albemarle will play Union Academy on Thursday at 6 p.m.
In the YVC’s boys’ bracket, No. 1 Robinson (20-3, 12-0) is the only team with a first-round bye. Three games were scheduled for Tuesday: No. 2 North Stanly (18-6, 10-2) bested No. 7 Gray Stone (0-19, 0-12), No. 3 Mount Pleasant (15-9, 8-4) topped No. 6 Union Academy (5-20, 3-9), and No. 4 Albemarle (10-11, 5-7) hosted No. 5 South Stanly (5-19, 4-8).
Robinson will play the winner of Albemarle and South Stanly on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., while North Stanly and Mount Pleasant will meet on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The boys’ tournament bracket will conclude with a Friday night championship matchup at 7:30 p.m.