Vikings Hold Off Mustang Boys
After trailing most of the first three quarters, the North Moore boys’ basketball team rallied for the first eight points of the fourth period against cross-county Union Pines in Robbins Tuesday.
The rally, fueled by junior Quashan Davis, cut the Vikings’ lead to 42-40 with 4:22 left in the contest. But back-to-back driving layups by Dionte Williams and Malik Crawford propelled the Vikings to a 15-4 run over the final minutes of the contest, giving Union Pines a 57-44 victory.
“When they (North Moore) made their run in the fourth quarter, I had a feeling of déjà vu from two years ago when we were up eight points and they came back to beat us,” said Union Pines coach Nick Boney. “We were able to get a good jump on them in the first half with our defense coming up with some turnovers.
“We knew they had scouted us against East Montgomery in our last game. But I didn’t want to get away from the things we try to do, so we didn’t try anything different. It was good to come in here and come away with a win.”
The Viking victory gives them a 2-1 record, while the Mustangs drop to 1-1 in the early stages of the season.
Union Pines came out pressing and immediately jumped to a 12-4 lead midway through the opening period. Then an 8-0 run spearheaded by Mustang senior Landon Auman’s six points tied the contest at 12 with 1:13 left in the first quarter.
Union Pines closed the period by outscoring the home team 6-2 for an 18-14 advantage. Auman had 10 of the Mustangs’ 14 points, with freshman Aaron Richardson scoring the other four points. Williams and Crawford had five points each for Union Pines during the quarter.
The Vikings continued to apply the pressure in the second frame, turning Mustang miscues into easy buckets, along with a pair of treys from Viking senior Matthew Maness. Union Pines outscored the Mustangs 16-9 during the period for a 34-23 lead at the break.
“We kind of put ourselves in a hole in the first half,” said North Moore coach Grant Smith. “We turned the ball over too many times, and we didn’t rebound well. It is only our second game, and we’re still looking for the right chemistry out on the floor. It’s going to take some time to develop that. Union Pines played hard and got the win.”
Maness had eight points for the Vikings in the first half while Auman had 12 for the Mustangs.
The pace slowed during the third quarter with the two teams swapping baskets. Union Pines held a 42-32 lead going into the final period.
With Davis hitting a couple of running one-handers and buckets from Malik Chisholm and Auman to open the fourth period, the Mustangs closed the gap to 42-40 with 4:22 left in the game.
Williams then hit a driving layup down the middle and added a foul shot for a three-point play, followed by another drive down the middle by Crawford, igniting an 11-2 run by the Vikings that opened a 53-42 lead with 1:30 left in the contest.
“They (North Moore) were leaving the middle open, and we told our guys to take advantage with drives down the middle,” said Boney. “You have to hand it to them; they didn’t give up.”
McRae led the Vikings’ balanced scoring attack with 13 points, followed by Crawford with 12 points, Maness and Williams, both with 10.
Auman finished with 14 points for the Mustangs, followed by Chisholm with 12 points.
The Mustangs entertained Eastern Randolph Wednesday and host North Stanly Monday. The Vikings entertain East Montgomery Friday.
The girls’ games are scheduled to start at 6 p.m., followed by the boys’ matchups.
Union Pines 18 16 8 15 — 57
North Moore 14 9 9 12 — 44
Union Pines: McRae 6 1-2 13; Crawford 5 1-1 12; Williams 4 2-4 10; Maness 3 2-2 10; Thompson 2 0-0 4; Packer 1 0-0 2; McCoy 1 0-0 2; Quick 0 2-2 2. Totals - 23 8-11 57.
North Moore: Auman 7 0-0 14; Chisholm 6 0-1 12; Davis 4 0-0 9; Richardson 2 2-4 6; Britt 1 0-0 2; Bullard 0 1-2 1. Totals - 20 3-7 44.
Three-point goals: UP 3 (Maness 2, Crawford); NM 1 (Davis 1).
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