Viking Girls Step Past Gray's Creek
Playing with a new approach and an enhanced sense of focus, the Union Pines girls’ basketball team took a big step in the right direction Wednesday in Hope Mills.
In a 62-33 runaway Cape Fear Valley Conference win over the homestanding Bears, the Lady Vikings’ co-captain Tyler Ross had a career-high 29 points, along with 17 rebounds and 10 steals to notch a triple-double.
The 5-foot-10 junior forward also doled out five assists and picked up three blocks. Ross had 10 points, five steals and two assists through the first quarter, as the Vikings built a 21-6 lead. She finished the half with 18 points, eight boards and seven steals.
Union Pines’ other captain, 5-foot-8 Crystal Hicks, had a versatile day playing point forward. The senior totaled 10 points, eight assists, eight boards and seven steals.
In their last outing, the Vikings had a collectively tough time bringing the ball up court and getting it down low to Ross in the opening two quarters of a 51-34 home victory against Douglas Byrd. Starting in the third quarter of that tilt, head coach John Lewkowicz opted to make Hicks his primary ball handler. The move paid off in that game, as Ross finished with a 23-point, 20-rebound double-double, while Hicks had five of her seven assists in the second half and totaled 14 rebounds, eight steals and five points.
On Wednesday, Hicks controlled the dribble for the vast majority of the time Union Pines spent in its offensive half-court sets. Meanwhile, Vike sophomore Lexi Coxe finished with nine points, three steals and two assists in her first start of the season.
Coxe came out particularly strong in the first quarter, scoring seven points and making two steals. By halftime, Union Pines enjoyed a comfortable 37-12 edge and pushed the margin to 43-15 at the 5:18 mark of the period. From there Lewkowicz liberally rotated all seven of his reserves in and out of the game as the entire Viking roster saw plenty of action in the conference contest.
Although she did not score, starting senior guard Alex Parris finished with five steals, three assists and two boards, while 6-foot sophomore starter Tiffany Hicks had four points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Eight players scored for Union Pines on the night, while the team tallied 29 steals, 41 rebounds, and 22 assists. The only major downside to the Viking performance came at the charity stripe, where they made just one-of-10 free-throw attempts.
Adrianna Galloway battled all night in the post for the Bears, as she led the team in scoring and rebound with 11 points and nine boards. Gray’s Creek moved to (1-6, 0-1 CFVC)
With the victory, the Vikes improved to 5-1 on the season and 2-0 in league competition.
Union Pines closes the week with a conference clash atop the CFV standings tonight (Friday) against the Southern Lee Cavaliers (6-1, 2-0) at 6 p.m. in Lee County.
Union Pines 21 16 8 17 — 62
Gray’s Creek 6 6 12 9 — 33
Union Pines: Ross 14 1-4 29, C. Hicks 5 0-0 10, Coxe 4 0-2 9, T. Hicks 2 0-0 4, Carr 2 0-2 4, Evans 1 0-0 2, McCrimmon 1 0-0 2, Daley 1 0-2 2. Totals 30 1-10 62.
Gray’s Creek: Galloway 4 3-10 11, Williams 3 2-3 8, Taylor 3 1-2 7, Landford 1 0-0 3, McKoy 1 0-2 2, Garner 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 6-17 33.
Three-point goals: (UP) 1 (Coxe); (GC) 1 (Landford).
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com
More like this story