Onward: UP, NM Girls Advance in Tournaments
Postseason basketball is in full force with both the Union Pines and North Moore girls’ teams advancing in conference tournament play Monday.
The Union Pines girls’ hoop team had an easy go of things Monday, defeating the Gray’s Creek Bears 70-33 in opening round action of the Cape Fear Valley Conference tournament at Bob Ward Gymnasium.
With the victory, the second-seeded Lady Vikes (22-3) advanced to tonight’s semifinal round, at Western Harnett, where they will take the floor at 6 p.m. against third-seeded Southern Lee, which beat sixth-seeded Douglas Byrd in its opening round game.
While Union Pines head coach John Lewkowicz was pleased about his team’s performance in picking up the win, he was quick to assert that starting tonight, every game the Lady Vikes face will be a huge one.
“We are healthy, which is a big thing,” Lewkowicz said, “and we are eager to play some really good basketball — there is no doubt about it.
“You have to win the games you are supposed to win to get where we want to go as a team, and I think that is what we are looking at. This is when the stakes really start to get high. So we have to play well, be solid in these games, not get sloppy, execute each time we take the court and then get ready for the next one.”
Top-seed Western Harnett had a first round bye. The 2010-11 CFVC regular season champion Lady Eagles (17-5) will take on fourth-seeded Westover, which beat fifth-seeded Overhills Monday.
Tyler Ross helped jump start the Vikes with a dominating first quarter display during Monday’s opening round CFVC tourney tilt. The sophomore forward had seven points, 10 rebounds and two steals in the frame as the Vikes led 22-6 through one period of play.
Union Pines also got a big boost off the bench from Kelly Campbell, who put on a sizzling shooting display from three-point land in the first half Monday. The senior guard made five treys in the first half, including four long balls in the second frame, to led Union Pines with 16 points at intermission as the Vikings held a 46-13 advantage at the break.
“It felt great to be able to have those shots fall,” said Campbell. “I am just glad that I played well so that I could help out my team. Lately our offense has been starting to come around, which is good because we have been solid defensively all season. But now we are working the ball around more and getting really good shots as a result.”
Union Pines’ margin swelled to 64-18 late in the fourth quarter, before Lewkowicz emptied his bench at around the six minute mark of the period.
Campbell scored a game-high 17 points, while Viking senior captain Tyesha McLean had 15 points along with six steals and four rebounds.
Ross joined the pair in double figures tallying 10 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and three assists, while senior guard Tashi Whitney had eight points, five assists, five steals, four rebounds and two blocks for Union Pines.
“Obviously our goal is to win this tournament, but we have to take it one game at a time,” Whitney said. “We just have to go out and play hard. We have been playing hard all season but if we step it up one more notch I feel like we can beat Westover or Western Harnett if we happen to play them again.”
As the top-seed a season ago in the CFVC tournament, Union Pines lost in overtime to Westover in the title game by a score of 58-56. This season, Westover and Western Harnett dealt the Vikings their only two league losses with both games ending by a margin of two points.
A total of 10 players scored for Union Pines in Monday’s opening round game against Gray’s creek, including Crystal Hicks (6 points), Chantele Carr (4), Cristina Morcom (4) Amanda McCoy (2) Alex Parris (2) and Ebony Walker (2).
Hicks also had seven assists, four steals and four rebounds. Senior center Brittyana Will led the Bears with 11 points and freshman Jalyn Taylor scored 10 for Gray’s Creek.
Lady ‘Stangs Cruise
The North Moore girls’ basketball team got off to a good start in the Yadkin Valley Conference tournament by crushing West Montgomery 60-24 in Robbins Monday.
The top-seeded Lady Mustangs had no problem with the eighth-seeded Lady Warriors, getting off to a fast start and leading 17-4 after the first quarter. They led 33-12 at the half and kept stretching the lead after the break.
Jalisa Davis provided a spark off the bench, finishing with 20 points — 13 of which came in the first half. Tashonna Farmer scored 12 points, while Shakorya Brower added eight. Nine Lady Mustangs scored in the game.
Latoya Cuthrell led West Montgomery with seven points.
The Lady Warriors kept within three points in the first four minutes of the game, but North Moore went on a 10-0 run to end the quarter, which included a baseline drive by Davis, who turned it into a 3-point play. Jessie Sheffield drilled a three on the next possession, and Davis scored again on a fast break off a feed from Katelyn Sheffield.
The second quarter was more of the same for North Moore. Davis started heating up, hitting four long jumpers, pushing the lead to 21 at the intermission.
Brower found Farmer for layups on consecutive fast breaks to start the third quarter. North Moore outscored West 11-5 in the final frame.
North Moore is off to South Davidson for the YVC tourney semifinals. They will play East Montgomery, which beat North Rowan 69-56 in Monday’s 4/5 seed game. The Lady ’Stangs and Eagles will meet Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Other first round games included a couple of upsets. Second-seeded Albemarle was toppled by seventh-seeded South Stanly 40-37, while sixth-seeded South Davidson edged third-seeded Chatham Central 58-54.
South Stanly and South Davidson will play Thursday in other semifinal game.
The fourth-seeded North Moore boys were scheduled to host fifth-seeded South Davidson Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the opening round of the boys’ YVC tournament. If the Mustangs won, they would play in Denton Wednesday evening as well.
PHS Ready for SEC Tourney
The Pinecrest boys entertain Scotland County tonight at 7 p.m. in one of the semifinal games of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
The regular season champion Patriots (20-4 overall, 9-1 league), and second place Hoke County, received first round byes. Scotland advanced with a 69-54 win over Purnell Swett on Monday. Richmond Senior, an 84-71 winner over Lumberton, faces Hoke in the other semi.
The Patriots captured No. 1 seeds for the conference tournament and 4A state playoffs with their 88-85 overtime victory at Hoke last Friday night. The preliminary NCHSAA 4A state playoff bracket has them entertaining the fifth seed from the Greater Neuse River Conference in a first round game early next week.
The Pinecrest girls (16-6, 6-4) were scheduled to meet Purnell Swett in the first round of the girls’ conference tournament on Tuesday. A win would put them in a 7 p.m. semifinal game at Lumberton on Thursday. Richmond Senior won the regular season title.
As the third seed from the Southeastern Conference, the preliminary NCHSAA 4A girls’ bracket has Pinecrest meeting the No. 3 team from the Tri-9 Conference in the first round of the state playoffs.
The championship games of both conference tournaments are scheduled to be played on Friday, beginning at 7 p.m. on the court of the higher seed.
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