UP Girls Drop Jags
Union Pines' dynamic backcourt duo of Alishia Mosley and Tyesha McLean turned in a dazzling display of clutch basketball Friday as the Lady Vikings topped Overhills 65-56 to avenge a pair of losses earlier in the season.
The pair combined to score 47 points in the tilt, as the Lady Vikes (13-5) improved to 5-2 in league play.
"Finally we were able to hold on to beat this team," said Mosley after the game, "and it feels good."
The visiting Lady Vikings found themselves on familiar ground as play entered the fourth period, holding a 49-38 advantage. In both its previous games against Overhills this season (one in league play, the other in a holiday tournament final), Union Pines carried leads into the final quarter, only to see the Jaguars walk away with wins in each tilt.
However, this time an Overhills comeback was not in the cards. The Lady Jags cut Union Pines' lead to 53-46 with 4:43 left in regulation when Felicia Bennett converted her third three-point play via the old fashion way on the night. It would be as close as Overhills would get, though, as Mosley answered swiftly by swishing home a 23-foot bomb, despite being guarded tightly by a defender, which extended the Vike lead back to 10.
From there, Mclean took over the reins, scoring seven of Union Pines' last nine points to salt away the win.
"Coming up here, we knew we needed this one," said Mosley. "The last time we played Overhills, we were a whole different team. I think we have grown up since then and come together."
On the night, Mosley went 5-of-9 from behind the arc on her way to a game-high 26 points, while grabbing eight boards, dishing out four assists and making two blocks. It was the senior captain's fifth straight game scoring more than 22 points.
In her last eight games, Mosley has made 30 three-point shots in 47 attempts.
As Friday's game got underway, the Vikes wasted little time building a big lead. Union Pines played strong defense in the opening period and sank four three-pointers, including three straight by Mosley, to take a 19-6 advantage into the second quarter.
A Mosley score on an offensive putback made it 21-6 in favor of the Vikes early in the second period, as Union Pines threatened to run away with the game. However, led by seniors Bennett and Miraya Gentry, Overhills responded in fuming fashion. When Bennett sank a free throw for her ninth point of the quarter, it capped off a 20-5 Overhills run as Union Pines' lead was cut to 30-26.
A fast break bucket by McLean on an assist from Cristina Morcom gave the Lady Vikes a 32-26 advantage at intermission.
McLean had 10 of her 21 points in the first half and finished with five rebounds, four steals and three assists.
"This one meant a lot to us," said McLean. "The last two times we played Overhills, we had them in the fourth quarter and got too relaxed. This time we worked hard in practice and made goals for ourselves, especially for tonight's game. It paid off, and we are really excited about that."
Union Pines' starting center, freshman Tyler Ross, picked up her third personal foul early in the third period and was forced to watch the majority of the quarter from the bench. However, Morcom, a 6-foot junior forward playing just her second game for the Lady Vikes this season, came up big for Union Pines, scoring six straight points in the period. Her final basket gave the Vikes a 43-37 lead.
In the closing seconds of the quarter, Morcom grabbed a defensive board and then found Mosley with room at the left arc and sank a 24-footer to give Union Pines a 49-37 edge with 36 seconds left on the clock.
Mosley felt Morcom, who recently transferred to Union Pines from The O'Neal School, made a major contribution to the Viking cause.
"She did a real good job tonight," said Mosley. "Yesterday, she had a root canal and was not even able to practice, but she came in strong today, telling us before the game that she wanted to be a part of the team, and she went out there and did it."
Bennett led Overhills with 22 points while collecting seven rebounds and two steals. Gentry had 12 points, three assists and two steals, while Jaguar point guard Rarnice Johnson finished with eight points, eight assists and four steals.
Although Vike Crystal Hicks did not score, the sophomore forward still found other ways to put her stamp on the game, as she grabbed 11 rebounds, made six assists and had three steals.
Union Pines' next game is a league battle on the road against Gray's Creek Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Contact F.W. Manning II at (910) 639-5481 or by email at email@example.com
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