Viking Girls Handle Wolverines
The Union Pines Lady Vikings cruised to a 64-27 league basketball victory against the Westover Wolverines Friday in Fayetteville.
Viking head coach John Lewkowicz felt it was the best overall game his girls have played this year.
“We jumped on them (Westover) early as a team,” Lewkowicz said, “and played solid from start to finish with strong execution and effort. Tonight we played tremendously sound team defense, not allowing Westover to get comfortable or in rhythm with the ball.
“Offensively we moved the rock around the court real well — high to low, in and out and around the perimeter. This led to people getting lots of good shots and the girls were knocking those attempts down.”
After jumping out to a 13-2 lead through one quarter, Union Pines carried a 30-14 edge into intermission. In the third frame, the visitors took complete command, putting 19 points on the board while holding Westover to two points to build a 49-15 advantage.
The captain tandem of junior Tyler Ross and senior Crystal Hicks both had big outings for the visiting Vikes.
“You know, Crystal continues to have a stunning senior year,” said Lewkowicz. “She is as tough as they come having battled through numerous injuries, including a fractured nose and some shoulder issues, but still throughout that she has remained a leader this season on, and off, the court.
“One thing she is doing more of lately is looking to score (more) which is nice and something we need. I honestly cannot say enough positive things about Crystal and what she means to our team and program here (at Union Pines).”
On the season, Hicks is averaging 9.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.7 steals and 4.3 assists per game.
Over her past six outings, she has scored 16 or more points and led the team in scoring four times, with a 12.3 scoring average. Friday she finished the game with 16 points, eight assists and seven steals.
Meanwhile, Ross turned in a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double Friday. She also snatched six steals.
For the season, the 5-foot-10 forward is averaging a double-double, with a 17.5 scoring average and 13.1 rebound average per game. She is also averaging 4.6 steals and 3.2 assists.
Ross has scored 22 or more points five times this season, and has finished in double-digit rebounds in all but one of the Vikes’ 13 games.
Viking junior point guard Dasia McCrimmon had eight points, senior Alex Parris scored six for Union Pines and sophomore wing Lexie Cox finished with five in Friday’s game.
With the win, Union Pines improved to 9-4 overall and remained tied for second in the 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference standings with a 4-1 mark alongside Overhills. Southern Lee (12-2) sits atop the CFVC standings at 6-0.
“To be honest this was one of those games you see on the schedule and as the weeks go but it is in the back of your mind,” said Lewkowicz. “You know, Westover is always a tough place to play and if you’re not ready, you can walk right into a wasps’ nest when you go down.
“Fortunately, we had a week to prepare and get healthy, which was beneficial. With all that said, it is always nice to get out of Westover with a win and know that we are done with that road game.
“Westover history speaks for itself, and its current team can be competitive, which they showed in a tight game this season against Southern Lee that came down to free throws in final seconds in this (Wolverines) gym.”
The Wolverines (5-12, 1-5 CFVC) fell to league leading Southern Lee Cavs 44-42 in that game.
Westover went undefeated in conference play to win the 2009 CFVC regular season title, and finished 10-2 in the league in 2010 to tie with Union Pines as co-conference champs, before going 7-5 to place third in CFVC regular season standings last season.
Union Pines returned to action Saturday for a nonconference contest against the 4-A Richmond Raiders (10-2). The game, which Lewkowicz felt was a “pivotal” one,” was a rematch from an earlier tilt this season in which the Vikings won 42-28 in Rockingham.
“The cool thing about this next-day (Saturday) turnaround game with Richmond is it really marks the start to the second half of our season,” said Lewkowicz. “This is going to be a true test that will indicate if our team is ready to play good basketball against tough competition. It begins a consistently solid January schedule for us.
“So now will be the time when we see if we have what it takes to set that steady pace for the stretch run, because currently we are off the radar so to speak in terms of our league — all the focus, all the talk, all the attention is about Southern Lee and Overhills.
“For us that means we must carve through the second time through our league schedule — game by game — to eventually be where we want to be as a team. I think that all starts with the Richmond game and the conference game Tuesday here against Overhills.”
The Vikings finish the first half of their 2011-2012 CFVC campaign at home Tuesday in Cameron, against the Jaguars from Overhills with second place in the league standings on the line.
Contact F.W. Manning II at firstname.lastname@example.org
More like this story