Vikes Win Physical Battle With South Johnston
There was no place like home for the Union Pines boys' basketball team.
After four straight road games, the Vikes returned to Cameron and posted a 46-42 win over South Johnston in a clash for third place in the Cape Fear Valley Conference on Wednesday.
"We have been on the road for a while -- for like two weeks," Vike Justin Marshall said, "so it feels real good to get this one at home."
After collecting wins in the first two games of the road stretch, the Vikings lost consecutive contests to the top two teams in the league at Overhills (8-1, 13-5) and Southern Lee (8-1, 11-6) before returning home to claim a CFV win.
"You have to defend your home court," said Marshall. "Hands-down it is what you must do in this league to keep pace."
With the win. Union Pines is now alone in third place at 6-3 in the conference and 10-9 overall. Meanwhile, with the loss South Johnston (5-4, 8-11) had a three-game league winning streak snapped and fell to fourth place in the CFV standings.
Viking center Chris Henderson scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds in the first half as the teams battled to a 22-all tie in a game that featured a physical, defensive-brand of basketball.
The back-and-forth battle continued in the second half. In the third quarter, The Vikings forged ahead by five, and eventually took a 34-31 lead into the fourth quarter.
Viking guard Eric Smith scored on three consecutive possessions in the fourth to give the Vikings a 44-38 advantage with less than a minute remaining in the game.
The Trojans could get no closer than four, thanks to Marshall who secured the win with two free throws with less than 30 seconds to play.
After the game Vike head coach Bobby Purvis was very pleased his team was able to pick up the win.
"We have had a tough two- or three-week stretch." Purvis said. "With exams and the snowstorm we kind of got out of our practice routine and then we had two tough losses. Our kids have struggled some on both ends of the floor and we did so again tonight."
Despite the struggles, Purvis said he was proud of the way his team competed.
"As I say so often, one win will lead you to the next one. It is not realistic always to have things come easy when you look at things over the course of a season; and if your season looks anything like you hope it should at the end, then somewhere along the way, you are more than likely going to win two or three games like this one," he said.
Henderson led Union Pines with 13 points and had 6 rebounds. Jon Toomer, who played with a sprained ankle, finished with 12 points and 6 boards, while Smith scored 11 points.
Union Pines returns to the court tonight, at home in Cameron, against CFV rival Gray's Creek (2-7, 6-13), Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
Contact F.W. Manning II at 639-5481 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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