UP Boys Hold Off Overhills
A crowd-pleasing performance by Union Pines’ swingman Parris Manning led to a 66-54 home basketball victory for the Vikings against Overhills Tuesday in Cameron at Bob Ward Gymnasium.
The 6-foot-3 Vike senior captain finished the night with 26 points, nine rebounds, seven steals, six assists and two electrifying slam dunks.
“I feel so good about how we were able to play as a team to-night,” Manning said, “because all through the summer we worked so hard improving and setting goals.
“Tonight we were able to come together as a team, and everything is falling into place for us right now.”
With the win, Union Pines improved to 8-8 on the season and remained in third place in the 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference (CFVC) standings at 3-3.
Last season Union Pines did not qualify for the state playoffs, as it finished 7-19 overall and 3-9 in league play. This season’s Viking squad made it clear from the onset that a postseason berth was among its major goals, and, at 3-3 this season in the CFVC, it is well within reach.
Currently the Vikings are alone in third place, a game in front of Gray’s Creek, Douglas Byrd and Western Harnett, all of which are 2-4 in the league heading into tonight’s action, while Overhills remain in last, falling to 1-5 in league-play after the loss.
Union Pines jumped out to a 16-4 lead through one quarter of action Tuesday, and led 28-18 at intermission. Two consecutive threes by junior guard Matthew Maness stretched the margin to 34-18 at the 6:47 mark of the frame.
From there the Jags (3-10) used a high-pressure attack on defense to capitalize on some Union Pines’ turnovers. The result was a 22-7 quarter-closing run by the visitors that made it a 41-40 ballgame in favor of Union Pines.
Manning had 13 points, three steals, two assists and two rim-rattling, highlight-reel-worthy dunks to help the Vikes pull away in the final quarter. With Maness going down with a knee injury late in the third period, Viking head coach Nick Boney put the ball in Manning’s hands, asking him to assume the primary ball-handling duties.
“For me, handling the ball is what I am supposed to do,” said Manning. “It is what I am going to college for, so I have to get real used to that. I love bringing the ball up the court and feel like that is what I was born for.”
Viking senior guard Lashun Brower also scored in double figures with 11 points, along with five boards. Junior guard Braxton Ross finished with nine points, 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals for Union Pines, while Maness had nine points, all from downtown, along with four assists and three steals. After the game, Maness admitted the injury was “quite painful,” but he would do all he could to be in the lineup tonight, while Boney said the decision to play him would be based on an initial medical evaluation and then monitoring the knee’s progress.
The Vikings return to CFVC action tonight in Fayetteville at 7:30 p.m. against Douglas Byrd (4-7, 2-4). The game is a rematch from an earlier league contest this season that saw the Eagles pull out a 63-50 win on the Vikes’ home floor. Nevertheless, Boney feels tonight’s tilt is a test his team is ready to take and quite capable of passing.
“I am very proud of my guys, first of all because they maintained a high level of competitiveness throughout the game,” said Boney. “I am also proud of the way they played together as a team tonight and were able to make some good plays late in the game that I think helped us seal this victory.
“Tonight marks the first of four games that are all huge for us. I feel very comfortable with our chances of going down to Byrd and getting a win there. They only beat us by 13 the first time. We were in that one and Parris (Manning) did not even play because he was still injured. So I feel very comfortable that we can go down there and pick up a ‘W.’”
Overhills 4 14 22 14 — 54
Union Pines 16 12 13 25 — 66
Overhills: Thomas 7 3-4 17, Johnson 5 0-0 10, Lucas 4 0-4 8, Ramsey 3 1-3 8, Smith 3 0-0 6, Cole 1 1-4 3, Mason 1 0-2 2. Totals 24 5-17 54.
Union Pines: Manning 10 4-6 26, Brower 4 2-3 11, Ross 3 3-3 9, Maness 3 0-0 9, Davis 2 1-4 5, Steadwell 3 0-0 6. Totals 25 10-16 66
Three-point goals: (O) 1 (Ramsey); (UP) 6 (Maness 3, Manning 2, Brower).
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