Overhills Rallies Against Viking Girls to Take Title
When the Viking girls laced them up against Cape Fear Valley league foe Overhills Wednesday in the Chatlee Shootout championship game in Sanford, the location may have been different, but in the end it was the same old song and dance.
Overhills again played foil to the Vikes as it collected its second fourth-quarter comeback win of the year against Union Pines, this time claiming the tourney title 57-50 in the process.
With one quarter remaining in the tilt, Union Pines held a 42-34 lead and seemed poised to put Overhills away. After scoring only one point in the first half, Vike senior captain Alishia Mosley heated up to score eight points in the third, while junior captain Tyesha McLean added six points in the frame
However, each was held to two points apiece over the final eight minutes by Overhills' defense, as the Jaguars outscored the Vikings 23-8 in the final period to win by seven. As play began in the decisive final quarter, Overhills wasted little time getting back into the ballgame.
Senior Jag Miraya Gentry opened the period off with a deep three to cut the Vike lead to five points, and when she buried her fourth three of the game from 24-feet out it made the score 46-44 in favor of Union Pines with 4:30 remaining. Next, senior forward Felicia Bennett grabbed a defensive board and went coast-to-coast, converting a drive that tied the affair at 46-all.
The Vikings then offered a reply in the form of back-to-back jumpers from junior Tashi Whitney and Mosley to lead 50-46 with 2:54 left in the game. Down the stretch it was ball security that would prove to be Union Pines' undoing, as it committed five turnovers in a just over a minute span. The Jags would score the final 11 points of the game to claim the championship crown.
"This was really a repeat of our first meeting with Overhills," said Union Pines head coach John Lewkowicz. "We got right where we needed to be. Then when the game was on the line, we again lost our poise and it cost us tonight.
"We really need to address the problem and get over it as we look ahead to conference play. We have to figure out how to play to win, instead of going out there and trying not to lose. Down the stretch you have to protect the rock, while understanding that it is a game within a game, and you have to close it."
Gentry said that before the fourth quarter her coach told Overhills players they needed to step it up as a team.
"We had great focus in the final period," Gentry said, "and really got after it out there by playing like we knew we could. It is very exciting that we were able to win the tournament. Win or lose we always believe we are champions at heart, so that is how we play the game every time out."
With the win, Overhills is now 11-1, while the Vikes are 8-4 overall. Earlier this month, in the CFV opener between the two teams, Union Pines led 38-33 after three periods of play at home, only to lose 55-53.
When asked about the sizzling nature with which her team and Union Pines have competed against each other over the past two years, Gentry had a refreshing outlook.
"There is really no animosity between us and them," she said. "We always have a good time when we compete and the games are just really fun. At best it is a friendly rivalry and we really enjoy playing against Union Pines whenever we face them."
Overhills has now won three straight against the Vikings, with each game featuring a fourth-quarter comeback by the Jaguars. In last season's CFV conference semifinals the Jags outscored Union Pines 14-3 in the fourth period to earn its first win in three tries against the Vikes, who had swept the regular-season series.
Bennett had nine fourth-quarter points for Overhills Wednesday, and finished with 16 to go along with nine boards, four steals and two blocks. Gentry had a game-high 18, including four three-pointers and eight points in the final period.
Mosley finished with 11 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals, while McLean also scored 11 and had seven steals, five assists and five rebounds for the Vikings.
Union Pines arrived in the championship game via a 43-29 victory over Chatham Central Tuesday in a semifinal contest.
Mosley put on a dazzling display in the semis, scoring a game-high 22 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks.
Sophomore Crystal Hicks also had a huge outing Tuesday, finishing with eight points, 11 rebounds and eight steals. Meanwhile, junior captain Tyesha McLean tallied five points, five steals and four assists despite battling foul trouble in the contest.
Contact F.W. Manning II at (910) 639-5481 or by e-mail at email@example.com
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