ALBEMARLE — While the regular season and conference play have both finished up for local high school basketball teams, two Stanly County squads will continue into the postseason.
Over the weekend, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association released its finalized brackets for the 2022-23 boys’ and girls’ basketball state playoffs.
Two boys’ teams (Albemarle and West Stanly) and two girls’ teams (Albemarle and North Stanly) each received a bid to play in Tuesday’s first round of the NCHSAA championships.
Three out of those four contests, which were all after press time, were home matchups for the Stanly teams.
In the boys’ brackets, the No. 10 Bulldogs (14-13) hosted No. 23 Starmount (13-12) in the 1A Western region, while the No. 30 Colts (13-14) traveled to No. 3 West Caldwell (25-2) for a 2A Western region matchup [Albemarle suffered a 67-61 loss and West Stanly was defeated 89-43].
In the girls’ brackets, the No. 4 Bulldogs (22-4) hosted No. 29 Mitchell (9-16) in the 1A Western region. The No. 9 Comets (21-4) hosted No. 24 Pine Lake Prep (9-16) in the 2A Western region [Albemarle won 59-32 while North Stanly won 63-47].
Five other Stanly teams — for the boys, North Stanly (13-12), South Stanly (7-17), Gray Stone boys (0-21), and for the girls, West Stanly (8-17) and Gray Stone girls (4-18) — did not receive playoff bids.
Looking ahead, the second round of NCHSAA playoff action is set for Thursday night, followed by a third round on Saturday and a fourth round next Tuesday; regionals are set for March 4 and the state championships will be played on March 11.
Out of the four local squads to make the playoffs, only one of them is coming off a conference championship victory.
The Albemarle girls defeated North Stanly in Friday’s Yadkin Valley Conference tournament title game, adding to a 12-game win streak that has continued since Jan 6. Led by sophomore point guard Amari Baldwin, the Bulldogs posted a 64-58 win, beating the Comets for the third time since Dec. 27.
The Albemarle boys’ team is coming off a 66-38 overtime loss to Mount Pleasant (16-10) in the semifinals of their YVC tournament. The Bulldogs had previously defeated South Stanly in the opening round. Robinson (20-6) later took the YVC tournament title with a win over the Tigers and was rewarded with a No. 7 seed in the 2A Western Region.
In the Rocky River Conference tournaments, the West Stanly boys defeated Central Academy (7-17) before falling to eventual winner Monroe (12-9). The West Stanly girls also lost to Monroe (17-7) before Parkwood (20-5) went on to win the conference championship.