By Charles Curcio, Sports Editor
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 —
Four Stanly County basketball squads took to the court on Monday night in the opening round of their respective state playoff brackets.
The Albemarle boys were the lone team at home Monday, hosting Mount Airy while South Stanly traveled to North Rowan.
On the girls’ side, North Stanly opened their 2A first-round playoffs at Wilkes Central, while Albemarle traveled to Monroe to face the Redhawks in the 1A playoffs.
Mount Airy 46
The Albemarle Bulldogs faced a tall task on Monday night in the opening round of the state 1A playoffs against a Mount Airy team that featured two players with heights of 6’7” and 6’8”.
Using their trapping half-court defense, the speed of the Bulldogs gave the home team an early advantage and held off a second-half rally by the Bears for a 60-46 win.
Sophomore Terrace Ellis led the Bulldogs (21-3) with 18 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field, including 3-of-6 from the three-point arc.
Senior guard Austin Taylor paced the Granite Bears (13-12) with 14 points while 6’7” sophomore center Carson Mounce added 11.
Ellis, playing in his first playoff game of his young career, showed the poise of a veteran, scoring 11 of his points in the first quarter and five of Albemarle’s points in a 7-0 run to open the game. He added two more three pointers midway through the first, the latter of which gave the Bulldogs a 16-4 lead with 2:25 left in the first.
“I just wanted to come out and get my team to a win,” Ellis said.
In the second quarter, Albemarle maintained its 11-point lead going into halftime, leading by as much as 15 points before the Bears answered early in the third quarter.
Mount Airy went on a 9-2 run over the first 3:23 of the third quarter, prompting a time out from the Bulldogs.
In that run, according to Bears head coach Levi Goins, “We were playing like we typically do, getting in passing lanes and creating ball pressure.”
The man-to-man defense employed by Mount Airy forced 12 combined turnovers in the second and third quarters and helped the Bears to rally.
A Darius Gwyn three-pointer with 53.4 seconds left in the third brought the Granite Bears to within five points 41-36.
In the fourth quarter, the Bears got within six points, but a Lee Autry bucket at the 4:09 mark and solid free-throw shooting from the Bulldogs helped the host team maintain its lead, while Albemarle’s defense held Mount Airy to 4-of-12 shooting in the final period. In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs hit 11-of-14 foul shots in the final period to seal the victory.
Ellis was “sensational” Monday night, according to Andrew, who added, “he gets us in the offense and can penetrate.”
Andrew also praised the efforts of Markez Brown, whose defensive efforts in the game limited the outside shooting of Mount Airy in a critical part of the game.
Albemarle travels to 22-4 Lake Norman Charter Knights on Wednesday. The Knights won over West Montgomery 87-44.
MA 7 11 18 10 46
A 18 11 14 17 60
MA – Austin Taylor 14, Carson Mounce 11, Gwyn 9, Daily 8, Hicks 2, Best 2.
A – Terrace Ellis 18, Williams 8, Nivens 8, Christian 7, Blanton 7, Ridenhour 6, Autry 4, R. Baldwin 2.
North Rowan 99
South Stanly 34
The South Stanly Rebel Bulls made their first playoff appearance in four seasons on Monday night in the opening round of the state 1A playoffs.
With a No. 15 seed in the bracket, the Bulls found a familiar opponent in the first round in the No. 2 seeded Yadkin Valley Conference champion North Rowan Cavaliers.
The host Cavs advanced to the second round with a 99-34 win over the Rebel Bulls.
In his final game with South Stanly, senior Michard Richardson led the Bulls (8-17) with 12 points. The team’s other senior, Juwan Johnson, added eight points along with junior Wes Smith, who scored eight as well.
Malik Ford led four in double figures for North Rowan (25-3) with 18.
SS 8 11 3 12 34
NR 27 26 38 16 99
SS – Machard Richardson 12, Johnson 8, W. Smith 8, Burris 2, Granados 2, T. Smith 2.
NR – Malik Ford 18, Jalen Sanders 15, Oshon West 10, Dalton Nelson 10, B. Nelson 7, Connor 6, Bowman 6, Archie 5, Tate 4, Ellis 4, Billingsley 4, Walker 4, Bates 3, Handy 3.
Wilkes Central 67
North Stanly 48
In the opening round of the state 2A playoffs, North Stanly lost on the road 67-48 at Wilkes Central.
Gentry Grubb led the Comets (14-12) with 18 points and Jenni Speight added 11.
North graduates four seniors this season: Speight, Jenna Huff and Alexis and Jackie Poolos.
NS 8 11 15 14 48
WC 22 13 14 18 67
NS – Gentry Grubb 18, Jenni Speight 11, Huff 8, Beadle 4, A. Poolos 3.
WC – Martha Mastin 20, Laken Blackburn 18, Brooke Bentley 10, McUmber 6, Cowles 4, Graham 3, Williams 3, Kilby 3.
Information on the game was not available as of press time.