Lady Vikings Face Overhills in Semis Tonight
Union Pines survived a tepid start Tuesday to outscore Gray’s Creek by 37 points in the final three quarters on its way to collecting an easy 58-22 victory in Cameron.
With the opening round win the Lady Vikings (18-6) advance to tonight's semifinal round of the 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference basketball tournament. As the second seed, the Vikes hosted the opening three games of the championship, while top-seeded CFVC regular season champion Southern Lee (20-3) had a first-round bye.
The action shifts to Sanford tonight, with Southern Lee scheduled to play fourth-seed Douglas Byrd at 7:30 p.m. on its home floor. In the first semifinal game, Union Pines takes on third-seeded Overhills, a 67-32 winner Tuesday at Bob Ward Gymnasium over sixth-seed Western Harnett (2-20).
Douglas Byrd (8-12) won Monday’s first opening round tilt, defeating fifth-seed Westover (7-17) by a tally of 53-41. After Overhills (18-6) made easy work of Western in game two, Union Pines took the court for the round-one night cap.
Through one quarter the going proved tough for the heavily favored Vikings as Gray’s Creek (2-18) held a 12-11 advantage.
“We were a little rusty in that first quarter,” said Union Pines head coach John Lewkowicz, “and Gray’s Creek came out playing hard. They just flat-out outhustled us and the score reflected that. For us it was good in a way; it allowed us to get the rust off, become truly focused and really start playing harder.
“This is the start of the second season right here and with that we need to come out executing from the start of ball games. We have to come out and execute (in round two) and have some patience on offense. When we do that, we are usually able to connect on both ends of the floor: defense, then offense, then defense and offense again — over and over.”
As play resumed in the second quarter, Vike senior captain Crystal Hicks scored after a cut to the basket on an assist from junior captain Tyler Ross. The bucket gave Union Pines a 13-12 lead, less than 30 seconds into the frame. From that point forward it was all smooth sailing for the homestanding Vikings.
By halftime, Ross had 12 points due in large part to a 10-point second-quarter surge, while Hicks scored 10 as Union Pines led 28-14.
After holding the Bears to two points in the second frame, Union Pines’ defense surrendered six points in the third and a total of eight for the entire final half. Meanwhile, the Bears did little to help their own cause, committing a litany of turnovers over the final three quarters while struggling to get any defensive stops.
On top of a five-steal, four-assist performance, Ross also collected her 21st double-double of the season, tallying 22 points and 14 rebounds. Hicks registered a double-double as well, scoring 12 points and grabbing 15 rebounds, along with six assists and three steals.
Both Vike captains are averaging double-doubles for the season, with Ross at 17 points per game and 14.2 rebounds, while Hicks has an 11.5 scoring average and an 11.7 rebounding average.
Gray’s Creek 12 2 6 2 — 22
Union Pines 11 17 10 20 — 58
Gray’s Creek: 2 5-8 9, Williams 2 2-2 7, Chavis 1 0-0 2, Taylor 1 0-0 2, King 1 0-0 2. Totals 7 7-10 22.
Union Pines: Ross 10 2-4 22, C. Hicks 5 2-5 12, Daley 3 0-0 7, T. Hicks 3 0-0 6, Carr 1 0-0 2, Evans 1 0-0 2, Molek 1 0-0 2, McCoy 1 0-0 2, Parris 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 4-11 58.
Three-point goals: GC (Williams); UP 2 (Carr, Daley).
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