U.P. Girls Keep It Rolling
The Viking girls defeated the Lady Jags 43-38 Friday in another classic clash in what has turned into a compelling Cape Fear Valley Conference hoops’ rivalry between Union Pines and Overhills in the past three years.
“This was a big-time gut check for us,” said head coach John Lewkowicz. “Tonight I learned this team has some genuine fortitude. This is one of those games where you open the season away from home against a major rival, coming off a few blowout wins, so we may have got caught looking ahead just a little bit.
“You have to give Overhills credit, too. (Jasmine) Canady is a great guard. She is one of the best in the league, so we knew it was going to be a tough game. Ultimately I found out my girls are fighters, because it was serious gut check time and this was a huge win to start off the conference season.”
With the victory against Overhills (0-6, 0-1), Union Pines remains undefeated improving to 7-0 on the season. Junior captain Crystal Hicks had 14 rebounds, nine points, five steals and five assists for the Vikes.
“We got off to a slow start tonight,” said Hicks. “Coming in 6-0 I think we might have had the feeling like — ‘hey, we got this.’
“But then Coach L gave us a talk at halftime. That was when our heads got back in the game and (we) pulled together well as a team to finish strong.”
Union Pines seemed tight on the road in its conference opener Friday. Several seemingly easy, close looks simply did not drop in the basket as the Vikings trailed Overhills 19-15 at the half.
A nine-point performance in the third frame from sophomore Tyler Ross helped the Lady Vikes stay in the game, as they only trailed 31-29 through three quarters of action.
“It feels good to come away from Overhills with this win,” said Ross. “We were not really clicking in the first half, but Coach L let us know our play had been unacceptable and told us we had to step up our game. We have a lot of heart as a group and I think our play showed that as we fought and found a way to pull this one out.”
Ross led the Vikes with 12 points and also finished with 11 rebounds, for her fourth double-double on the season.
In the fourth period, Union Pines stepped up its defense and went 10 for 12 from the charity stripe, to outscore Overhills 14-7 and come away with a critical conference road win.
Senior captain Tyesha McLean hit an early three in the opening period but then went ice cold from the field. She still found a way to score some timely points late in the fourth period, including a pair of free throws and a basket on a baseline drive that gave Union Pines a 39-36 lead with 1:45 remaining in the game.
McLean finished with nine points, five assists, four steals and four boards.
Jaguar point guard Canady had 11 points eight rebounds, six assists and three steals. Erin Elliot also had 11 points for Overhills, along with 12 boards and three steal, while. Katelyn Clark finished with nine points.
The Lady Vikes return to CFVC action Monday on the road at Gray’s Creek at 6 p.m.
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com.
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