UP Boys Bested by First-Place Cavs
After a solid first-half effort Friday in Sanford, Union Pines' boys' basketball team trailed the three-time defending Cape Fear Valley Conference champion Southern Lee Cavaliers by just two points at halftime.
However, the Vike boys ran out of steam in the third quarter and eventually lost 60-45.
A lack of point production by Union Pines in the third period, caused partially by poor shot selection and lack of offensive organization, along with smothering pressure defense and domination of the boards by Southern Lee, allowed the Cavs to jump out to a 39-32 lead. By the end of the third frame, the Cavs held a 41-34 advantage as Union Pines only scored five points in the quarter.
From there, Southern Lee, which entered the game in first place in the conference standings, used strong interior defense and impressive offensive rebounding to forge ahead, building a comfortable 50-38 lead at the 2:32 mark as it went on to pick up the Senior Night win.
Six-foot-five Cavalier sophomore Josh Mellette had seven blocks, six offensive boards, a total of 15 rebounds and six points to pace Southern Lee.
The Cavs held an 18-14 lead after one period. Trailing 30-22 late in the second quarter, Union Pines closed the period on a 7-1 run capped off by a three at the buzzer by Justin Brabham to trail 31-29 at the half.
Vike Jon Toomer scored 12 of his team-high 16 points in the first half before being neutralized by Southern Lee's defense. Toomer also led Union Pines with eight rebounds.
Southern Lee sharpshooter A.J. Jackson celebrated Senior Night by leading the Cavs with 18 points. He shot 6 of 9 from the field and also had six assists. Jackson's backcourt partner, Ace Chalmers, had 16 points, five steals and five assists as the Cavaliers improved to 14-7 overall and 10-1 in conference play. They are currently two games ahead of second-place Westover (14-4, 8-1) in the win column.
Union Pines (10-11, 5-5) remains in fourth place. The Vikes finish the regular season this week with a home game Wednesday against Westover, before hosting third-place Douglas Byrd (6-4 conference) on Friday. Both games are scheduled to tip at 7:30 p.m.
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