Wilborn, Mosley Lead Vike Girls to Win
Saturday in the opening round of The Pilot Cup tournament, the Viking girls' basketball team got a big lift from veterans Lindsey Wilborn and Alishia Mosley in defeating the O'Neal Falcons 55-46 at Pinecrest.
Wilborn and Mosley joined forces to combine for 39 Union Pines' points, along with seven rebounds and five assists.
"Alishia had a big first half," said Viking head coach John Lewkowicz. "Lindsey did a great job of settling down in the second half. That is what we have come to expect from her and she came through, which was huge."
Mosley, a junior guard and Union Pines' leading scorer last year, came out on fire in the first period. She nailed two early three-pointers and a bucket down low to pace the Vikes to an 18-13 lead after one quarter. Falcon Kitan Akinosho also had a hot hand in the opening period, scoring six points to help her team keep pace.
However, Mosley would add six more in the second quarter, while Union Pines' defense held the Falcons to five points in taking a 29-17 lead into halftime.
Wilborn, a senior forward, found her rhythm as she scored 13 points in the final two periods. As the second half began, Mosley scored two quick buckets to give the Vikings a 35-20 lead with 5:50 left in the third period.
Syd Mcllwain helped the Falcons stay in the game by scoring nine third-quarter points. She rattled off seven consecutive points to cut Union Pines lead below double digits, 35-27, with 3:03 remaining in the third period.
The Vikes then closed the quarter on a 7-2 run behind five points from Wilborn to take a 42-29 advantage into the final eight minutes of the game. Wilborn felt her biggest role of the night was to keep Mcllwain and Akinosho off the boards.
"If I stayed focused on interior defense and rebounding," Wilborn said, "I knew everything else would fall into place. As the game went on I started on the inside and worked my way out and the shots began falling (for me)."
O'Neal would get within 10 points when Jennie Joy rattled home a three-ball, making the score 42-32 early in the fourth quarter. From there, Union Pines got a bucket down low from Mosley and four points from Wilborn to make it a 46-34 ballgame with 5:49 left to play.
Falcon Ellen Cowherd scored eight of her 12 points on the night in the final quarter. With her team down by 12, she converted on a fast break to get O'Neal within 10 points. A steal and layup by Mcllwain brought the Falcons within eight points as the score was 50-42 in favor of the Vikes with four minutes left in the game.
That would be as close as O'Neal would come though, as the Vikes slowed down the pace and spread out the court to hold on for a nine-point win and advance to today's (Monday) championship game versus the Pinecrest Patriots.
After the game, Lewkowicz was proud of the way his team performed in its season opener.
"I think we really played hard," said Lewkowicz. "Everybody gave it their all. We still need to work on our rebounding on the weak side. We also got ahead of ourselves a little bit a few times , but that is all part of our continuing learning curve.
"We did do a good job once we got in the lead of maintaining our focus and poise. We came out of each time out positive in the final quarter and every time they made a run at us, I felt our girls responded well."
Mcllwain led the Falcons in scoring with 18 points and rebounds with eight. She was joined in double digits by Cowherd with 12 and Akinosho would finish with 10 points, six boards, two blocks and a steal.
Mosley led all scorers with 22, while also collecting four rebounds and four assists. Wilborn scored 17 points while grabbing four boards and dishing out two assists. The Vikes other two starting guards had strong all-around games. Senior point guard Reyanna Torrence had seven points, three steals and three assists, while sophomore Tyesha McLean scored two points, while collecting six steals and finishing with four assists. Union Pines' freshman forward Crystal Hicks had a noteworthy debut with four points, five rebounds and four assists.
The Vikings play the Patriots at Pinecrest in tonight's (Monday) 7:30 p.m. tournament title game. O'Neal will face the North Moore Mustangs in the consolation game that begins at 6 p.m.
O'Neal 13 5 11 17 -- 46
Union Pines 18 11 13 13 -- 55
O'Neal: J. Joy 2 0-0 5; E. Cowherd 5 2-4 12; K. Jenkins 0 1-2 1; K. Akinosho 5 0-2 10; S. Mcllwain 5 8-11 18. Totals - 17 11-19 46.
Union Pines: T. McLean 1 0-0 2; R. Torrence 2 3-4 7; T. Whitney 1 1-1 3; L. Wilborn 7 3-3 17; A. Mosley 9 2-2 22; C. Hicks 2 0-0 4; C. Daley 0 0-1 0. Totals - 22 9-11 55.
Three-point goals: O'Neal 1 (Joy); Union Pines 2 (Mosley 2)
F. W. Manning II can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell at (910) 639-5481.
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