ALBEMARLE — After gaining opening-round victories, the Albemarle and North Stanly girls’ basketball teams each fell short in the second round of N.C. High School Athletic Association state playoffs last week.
The No. 4 Bulldogs (22-5) were knocked out of the 1A Western Region in a 71-66 home loss to No. 13 Robbinsville (20-8) after previously defeating No. 29 Mitchell by 27 points in the first round.
Albemarle led by 12 after the first quarter but trailed by five points at halftime. After a back-and-forth second half, the Black Knights came away with a five-point victory.
Sophomore point guard Amari Baldwin — Albemarle’s top scorer at 17 points per game — was held to just six points. Meanwhile, Robbinsville’s Desta Trammell scored 45, the most by a Bulldogs opponent this season.
Playing in the 2A Western Region, the No. 9 Comets (21-5) suffered an 88-54 loss at No. 8 East Rutherford (27-3). North had advanced to the second round with a 63-47 win over No. 24 Pine Lake Prep in the first round.
The Comets trailed by 14 points after the first quarter and never recovered. Shalyn Bell posted a team-high 30 points, while Jada Whitesides led East Rutherford with 28.
Despite the losses, it was still a highly successful 2022-23 season for both the Albemarle and North girls’ teams.
The Bulldogs won the Yadkin Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles, finishing with a 9-1 conference record and a 13-game win streak that came to an end last week. Playing neck and neck with Albemarle in the conference standings all season, the Comets lost three out of four games to the Bulldogs but still managed a 21-5 record and runner-up status in the YVC Tournament.
Two other Stanly County squads — the Albemarle and West Stanly boys’ teams — played in the state playoffs but were defeated in the first round.
In the boys’ brackets, the No. 10 Bulldogs (14-13) hosted No. 23 Starmount (13-13) in the 1A Western region, while the No. 30 Colts (13-14) traveled to No. 3 West Caldwell (25-3) for a 2A Western region matchup. Albemarle suffered a narrow 67-61 loss, while West Stanly was defeated 89-43.