Viking Girls Dominate Eagles
The Union Pines Lady Vikings opened their season Monday with a 69-25 nonconference basketball victory over East Montgomery at Bob Ward Gymnasium in Cameron.
Led by forward Tyler Ross, the Vikes jumped out to a 14-4 lead through one quarter and led by 26 points late in the second period before the visiting Eagles made the last two buckets of the half to trail 30-8 at halftime.
Ross shined in her debut as a Lady Vikings’ captain. Although she saw just 19 minutes of action, the 5-foot-11 junior still finished with 15 points, 17 rebounds, eight assists and five steals — all of which were game-high tallies.
“We came in tonight and we were actually very nervous,” Ross said, “but Crystal and I had a talk with the girls beforehand. We talked to them about just calming down because everyone is going be nervous and after a few quarters we knew everyone will get into the mood, and they did.
“We have been practicing very hard and it’s been going well with us trying to push each other to be the best we can be. Our hope is for that work to show up on the court, and it did tonight.”
Hicks entered the tilt as a senior and second-year captain. The 5-foot-9 four-year starting forward finished the night with nine points, 11 rebounds and three steals for Union Pines.
After the game Lewkowicz talked about this year’s edition of the Union Pines team, which features only two returning starters, in Hicks and Ross, along with five other returners off last year’s team that made it to the regional semifinals of the state 3-A playoffs for a second straight season and finished with a record of 27-4.
“I think we played really well overall,” he said. “The Eagles are a young team and once we got a comfortable lead, for us we just wanted to work on our execution. We did not want to get sloppy. We wanted to play good fundamental basketball and execute what we work on in practice and I thought the girls really did that.
“That is what you really want to see in a game like this, is to work on our execution, and I thought the girls did a good job of keeping focused and playing fundamentally sound in all areas.”
Lewkowicz was particularly pleased with the performance he saw on the court from both his captains.
“For Tyler, this is her third go-around,” Lewkowicz said, “and she knows what needs to be done in the middle. She is truly a force in there. Crystal, as always, gives us all the intangibles and just knows where the holes are down low on the boards.
“I thought Alex Parris also was solid out there too and is savvy. She is a pure spot shooter and she plays her position (shooting guard) well.”
Parris had 13 points, including three treys, in her senior debut as a part of the Viking starting lineup, along with 6-foot sophomore forward Tiffany Hicks, and 5-foot-7 point guard Dasia McCrimmon. After the game Parris spoke about being a starter and Union Pines’ expectations for the season.
“I was really nervous to begin with,” Parris said, “but after warming up and a few minutes into the game I became confident because we have been practicing really hard. We came out ready to play. We play a different game this year: It is not so much about penetration, it is about ball movement and getting jump shots as well as getting it inside to Tyler and Tiffany.
“The thing that has not changed is that our defense is a focus point. We played pretty well overall tonight, but we can improve some on (defending in) our man-to-man. Our zone and press are really solid and we talk well as a unit on defense. It feels great to get the season started finally. We believe in ourselves as a group. This team can definitely win our conference and contend for another sectional title (in the playoffs).”
McCrimmon also finished in double digits for Union Pines, scoring 13 points, to go along with four steals and three assists. Delana Hinson scored nine points to lead East Montgomery in scoring.
The Vikings (1-0) are back in action Friday, for a rematch with the Eagles (0-2) in Biscoe at 6 p.m.
E. Montgomery 4 4 6 11 — 25
Union Pines 14 16 19 20 — 69
E. Montgomery: Crisco 1 2-2 4, B. Hinson 1 1-2 3, D. Hinson 2 2-6 9, Reza 0 2-2 2, Watts 2 0-0 4, Harrell 1 1-3 3. Totals 7 8-15 25.
Union Pines: Ross 6 3-3 15, Parris 2 0-0 13 McCrimmon 3 1-4 13, C. Hicks 2 2-6 9, T. Hicks 3 1-4 7, Daley 2 0-0 4, Evans 2 0-0 4, Carr 1 0-0 2, Coxe 1 0-0 2.Totals 22 7-17 69.
Three-point goals: (EM) 1 (D. Hinson); (UP) 6 (Parris 3, McCrimmon 2, C. Hicks).
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