Vike Boys Open With Win
The Union Pines boys’ basketball team defeated Cardinal Gibbons, 56-52, Tuesday in its season opener at Bob Ward Gymnasium.
Parris Manning carried the Vikings in the opening two periods of the nonconference tilt against the 3-A Crusaders. In a dazzling display of scoring prowess, the 6-foot-3 senior shooting guard had scored 17 of his game-high 19 points by halftime.
“It was important for us to come out and start the season on the right foot,” Manning said, “so the importance of this win was big. We just want to have a good season and be successful, so this was the right way to start.”
Much to the delight of the sizeable Viking crowd, Manning scored from all over the court — including behind the arc, in the paint, at the free-throw line and in transition. His most memorable bucket came on a fast-break chance after a turnover by Gibbons, which Manning finished by throwing down a thunderous two-handed dunk that caused the Union Pines fans to rise to their feet in a crazed frenzy of jubilation.
The slam came early in the game, giving the largest Union Pines’ basketball crowd in the past 22 months, according to principal Robin Lea, ample reason to celebrate during the ensuing timeout and stay involved with the game throughout its duration.
“The feeling of having the crowd erupt like they did when I was able to make that dunk is just unexplainable,” said Manning. “For over a week our team has been requesting the help of the school to help get the crowd out tonight and everybody came through to support us, especially our student section.”
On the home side of the bleachers, the Union Pines’ students had their own cheering section that remained full and active the entire night.
After outscoring the visiting Crusaders 13-7 in the first quarter, the Vikings carried a 25-24 lead into intermission when Matthew Maness banged home a 33-foot shot that just beat the buzzer. The basket was the first of four three-point field goals for the junior point guard on the night, as he finished the tilt with 16 points to go along with eight assists.
“We worked hard all summer,” Maness said, “playing 21 games and we have worked hard all off-season. Since the first day of basketball season – Nov. 1 – we have built a great chemistry and worked well together.
“Our team philosophy is that it does not matter who scores the points, or who leads us on the stat sheet; just so long as we come with that ‘W,’ then we are satisfied.”
Cardinal Gibbons held Manning to two points from the free-throw line in the third period and outscored Union Pines 14-13. The game then entered the final quarter of play knotted at 38-all.
With 5:11 left to play in the game and the Vikes holding a slim 43-42 lead after a Maness made a deep three-pointer, Manning fouled out. Along with a game-high 19 points, Manning tallied seven rebounds and three assists for the Vikings.
Down the stretch Maness scored eight points, including two timely treys.
“We lost probably our best player in Parris Manning with five minutes to go in the game,” said Maness, “We had myself, along with Braxton Ross and everybody else, step up and that’s what it’s all about in fighting through adversity.
“Cardinal Gibbons is a great team. They are well-coached and were hungry tonight, so this was a quality win for us and a perfect way to get the season going. We have nine guys on this team that played varsity ball last year and have that collective season of experience under our belts. “While we had some bumps in the road, we fought through it and now everybody seems to be much more confident. This time no secrets lie ahead as we look to move forward and we are prepared for it.”
With the victory, Union Pines is 1-0 on the year while Cardinal Gibbons went to 0-1. Last season Union Pines finished with a record of 6-19.
Ross, a junior, also figured large in Union Pines’ victory. The 6-foot-4 swingman finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals in the tilt. He also delivered an apt rejection, on a would-be layup for the Crusaders, with less than 11 seconds remaining in the game and the score 55-52 in favor of the Vikes.
“This was a great way to get started for us,” said Ross. “We have been working hard all summer to get more than six wins, and tonight we came out here and did what we had to do.”
Senior forward Charles Steadwell led Union Pines in steals with four and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds. Patrick Domville finished with 11 points to lead the Crusaders in scoring from the point, while 6-foot-6 freshman forward Austin Brunette chipped-in nine points, along with six assists, four blocks and eight rebounds.
The Vikings return to their home court Monday, to cap off a roundball triple-header against East Montgomery, The squad will take the floor after the Union Pines varsity girls’ season opener that is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. The Vike junior varsity boys, who fell 59-41 in their opener Tuesday versus the Crusaders, will get the action started with a 4:30 p.m. tip-off in Cameron.
Cardinal Gibbons 7 17 14 14 — 52
Union Pines 13 12 13 18 — 56
Gibbons: Domville 1 3-6 11, Burnette, 4 1-1 9, Enzweiler 3 2-4 8, Nicolosi 1 5-5 7, Mitchell 0 0-0 6, Wright 2 0-0 4, Reed 1 0-0 2, Zaruba 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 11-16 52.
Union Pines: Manning 6 4-9 19, Maness 0 4-4 16, Ross 4 2-2 10, Williams 2 1-3 5, Davis 0 0-0 3, Gilcrest 1 0-0 2, Brower 0 1-2 1. Totals 13 12-20 56.
Three-point goals: (CG) 5 (Domville 2, Mitchell 2, Davis); (UP) 6 (Maness 4, Manning, Davis).
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org
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