Boney Era Begins Monday For Vikes Hoops
Union Pines takes the floor for the first time under new head coach Nick Boney in the Vikings’ home hoops opener against Red Springs Monday at Bob Ward Gymnasium.
Boney replaces longtime Vike head coach Bobby Purvis. Now the athletic director at Union Pines, Purvis led the Union Pines boys’ basketball program for 10 seasons after serving as the girls’ head coach for 20 years.
When Boney was named the new head basketball coach back in August, he spoke reverently about his predecessor.
“I’m very familiar with Coach Purvis as a UP legend,” Boney said, “ I have observed Bobby during games and hold a great deal of respect for him, so I understand I have big shoes to fill."
“I will admit that it is a little daunting to follow someone who has been coaching for 30-plus years. At the same time, I am confident in my coaching ability and appreciative of the support I have received from Coach Purvis and my new Viking family.”
Along with a new coach, Union Pines fans will be treated to a Viking team fresh with new faces.
This year’s team features just four players with varsity experience at Union Pines. Of that foursome, only junior swingman Parris Manning saw significant minutes on the court. Sophomore forward Braxton Ross began last season with the varsity team, but moved down to the jayvee squad around the start of league play.
Garrison Peele is the lone senior on Union Pines’ current roster. In limited action last season, Peele did demonstrate the ability to defend well in transition and was also a consistent threat from three-point range. Junior Jordan Sivils is the other returning player for the Vikes.
Last season, Union Pines (14-12, 7-5) made it to the second round of the state playoffs after placing third in the 3A Cape Fear Valley Conference standings.
That team featured eight seniors in Purvis’ regular 10-man rotation, including all five starters. At the top of the list of players who graduated last spring was Jon Toomer. The Vike forward led the team in scoring his last three years.
Over his four-year varsity career, Toomer scored more than 1,300 points and was a three-time all-conference selection. He was selected as last season’s CFVC MVP after finishing third in the voting as a sophomore and second as a junior. Also a two-time team member All-district selection, Toomer averaged 17.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 0.76 blocks as a senior.
Toomer’s three-year starting front court mate was Chris Henderson. The post player was also a two-time all-district selection and averaged 14.8 points and 9.5 rebounds as a senior last season.
Union Pines also graduated its talented back court duo of Eric Smith and Justin Brabham. Smith was a three-year starter for the Vikes while Brabham started for two seasons.
After last season’s basketball banquet, Purvis expressively spoke about last year’s group of Union Pines seniors and their collective legacy they left behind.
“They made the playoffs three straight years, advancing to the second round twice,” Purvis said, “and were a third-place basketball team in the CFVC at worst over their run. “If you look at what they have achieved over their years at Union Pines, this group has earned its own little niche in the overall basketball history of this school.”
When Union Pines takes the court for its opening two games (Monday versus Red Springs and Tuesday at North Moore), the Vikings’ new coach hopes more than anything his players hustle the whole way and truly give all they can in terms of effort.
“I am anxious to see how hard the guys come out to play,” Boney said, “and also how well we are able to handle adversity when things don’t go well. Those two areas are crucial for guys at this level.
“Over the course of any season there will be times when things just aren’t going your way. As players, they must learn to be comfortable in those situations. That way we can look to embrace those challenges, learn how to respond when they arise and eventually have the ability to overcome them.”
The Vikings have played four scrimmages in the preseason. After hosting Hoke on Tuesday, Union Pines played Lee Senior, Cardinal Gibbons and East Chapel Hill during a Thursday night jamboree in Sanford.
Boney was impressed by the way his team played defense against each of those three schools.
“Defensively I think we will be able to lock some teams down,” he said during an interview Friday afternoon.
“Having seen my team run drills and play the scrimmages, offensively I think we can score points,” said Boney. “Once the guys learn how to relax and run the offense with poise, the potential is there. But defensively we are already at a good place — especially with our aggressiveness, knowledge and on-court awareness.
“Thursday we played three teams that ran the flex offense and I was impressed by the way we handled and defended against that set. Having just seen that same look from Hoke, I put in a flex drill at Wednesday’s practice and the boys responded well enough against Lee Senior to force them to come out of that offense and run something else.”
The Vikings host Red Springs Monday night, directly following the Union Pines girls’ game. which starts at 6 p.m.
Schedule: NOV. — 22 Red Springs; 23 @ North Moore; 30 @ Richmond; DEC. — 1 West Montgomery; 6 @ SW Randolph; 7 Richmond; 10 @ Overhills; 13 @ Gray’s Creek; 15 Western Harnett; 17 Westover; 27 - 29 Lee County Christmas Tournament; JAN. — 4 @ Southern Lee; 6 @ Red Springs; 14 Douglas Byrd; 15 @ Jordan Matthews; 21 Overhills; 22 @ Eastern Randolph; 25 Gray’s Creek; 28 @ Western Harnett; FEB. — 1 @ Westover; 4 Southern Lee; 10 @ Douglas Byrd
*Cape Fear Valley Conference game
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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