Vikes Fall to Gibbons in Jayvee Action
A defensive lapse in the fourth quarter led to a 59-41 season-opening loss for the Union Pines’ junior varsity basketball team Tuesday against Cardinal Gibbons at Bob Ward Gymnasium in Cameron.
The tilt was a see-saw affair in the early going. There were eight lead changes in the first quarter, with Union Pines taking the final edge to lead 12-11 as play moved to the second frame.
The start of the second quarter was still a back-and-forth battle marked by three more lead changes and sloppy play on both sides. Eight turnovers were committed in the first 2:21 of the quarter. After trailing 16-15 a late charge by the Crusaders gave them a 21-17 halftime lead.
Union Pines was paced in the first half by the freshmen trio of guard Armani McCoy, small forward Robert Collins and postman Joseph Bibey. McCoy had six points, four steals and two assists, Bibey tallied four points and five boards, while Collins finished the first half with two points, three assists, two steals and six rebounds.
Crusader Mitch Mrus dominated the paint on offense and defense through the opening 16 minutes. The 6-foot-3 center finished the first half with 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Cardinal Gibbons opened up a 30-22 edge with 3:03 remaining in the third quarter. Down the stretch, the Vikes got two big buckets from Kaheem Elliot late in the frame to stay in the game, as the score was 34-30 in favor of the visitors through 24 minutes of action.
Cardinal Gibbons (1-0) came out blazing to start the final quarter with a bang, sinking their first two baskets to build a 40-30 lead at the 7:00 mark. From there, the Vikes battled a full-court press from the Crusaders and managed to cut the deficit to 42-36 with 4:54 remaining in the game.
It would be as close as Union Pines got though, as the Crusaders capitalized on each of their ensuing three possessions, along with missed free throws by the Vikes, to push the lead to 50-38 with just under three minutes to go in the tilt.
Union Pines went five-for-12 from the charity stripe in the final frame, while Cardinal Gibbons went eight-for-11.
Elliot had a strong second-half performance for Union Pines. He scored 12 of his team-high 15 points in the final two quarters, finishing with 11 rebounds and three assists. McCoy also scored in double digits, with 13 points.
Mrus tallied game-highs in scoring and rebounds, finishing with 20 points and 14 boards for the Crusaders.
The Vikings (0-1) are back in action Monday, against nonconference foe East Montgomery at 4:30 p.m. in Cameron.
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