UP Girls Ramble Past Byrd
The Union Pines Lady Viking basketball team took visiting Douglas Byrd’s best shot Monday in league action at Bob Ward Gym.
Late into the third quarter the Vikes were on the ropes, trailing 29-28 against a Lady Eagle team with momentum on its side and a road upset in its sights.
From there Union Pines got major contributions from freshmen Stephanie Johnson and Samantha Ring along with junior captains Lexie Coxe and Tiffany Hicks. The foursome helped the Vikes come back from weathering a late-season storm to secure a critical 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference victory — going away — in convincing fashion to bring the final winning tally to 49-32.
With the win Union Pines moved to 9-11 overall on the season and 5-4 in CFVC play, while Douglas Byrd fell to 1-15 overall and 1-7 in league play.
“Douglas Byrd is athletic, dangerous and has a couple of nice players,” said Vike head coach John Lewkowicz. “Sade Rogers is a terrific guard. After a solid start we really did get sloppy in the second quarter, and it cost us because they (Douglas Byrd) got right back into the game — and now they are dangerous.
“It took a full quarter to fight Byrd off because they were on the charge and had confidence. Then I like the way our girls got refocused — you know it is all part of this season-long learning curve — to keep focus on the court. Once we did that I felt Lexie (Coxe) did a great job leading this team when things got on the line. I thought Stephanie came up big after she settled down. So I was pleased with the spurt we got there.”
That spurt, which amounted to an 11-0 run by Union Pines to close the third period, began with a fast-break basket from Coxe to Johnson to give the Vikings a 30-29 lead. Next Ring made a steal and went coast-to-coast for a breakaway lay-up. After Ring made one-of-two attempts at the foul line, Hicks found Coxe on a kick-out pass at the top of the arc on the Vikes next possession.
Coxe buried the 22-footer to give the home team a 33-29 edge with 1:43 remaining in the quarter. Johnson pushed the margin to 36-29 less than 20 second later when she scored a lay-in after making a steal. The final three points of the run came on a field goal by Anna Jackson on an assist by Coxe, and a free throw by Hicks, giving the Vikes a 39-29 lead through three quarters of action.
Down the stretch Union Pines used its defense and sharp transition play with the ball to push its lead to 52-36 after four straight points from Coxe. From there Johnson got to the line twice, going three-for four, as the Vikings led 55-36 with 2:23 left in the game.
Union Pines opened up a 12-7 lead through one quarter and extended it to 15-7 early in the second before Rogers spurred Byrd on a 21-13 run that began at the 6:33 mark of the second quarter and extended deep into the third.
Over that stretch, Rogers, a junior shooting guard, scored 16 points, had three assists and four steals. Joining her in double digits on the evening for Byrd was sophomore point guard Brittany Trottman with 11 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals. Freshman Aundraya Doyle, a 6-foot-2 center, led Douglas Byrd with 10 rebounds and two blocks, while scoring five points on the night.
Johnson finished with a team-high 16 points for Union Pines and grabbed 11 rebounds for a double-double on top of three assists, three steals and two blocks. Coxe tallied 11 points, six steals and two assists.
Hicks had a solid all-around outing with nine points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. Ring finished with nine points and three steals.
The Vikings were scheduled to play Southern Lee (10-9, 7-1 CFVC) in a top-three league battle Tuesday in Sanford.
Union Pines returns to action Friday at 6 p.m. in Cameron where they will face the Western Harnett Eagles in a league tilt.
Douglas Byrd 7 12 10 13 — 42
Union Pines 12 11 16 20 — 59
Douglas Byrd: Rogers 7 2-4 16, Trottman 5 1-3 11, Doyle 2 1-1 5, A. White 2 0-0 4, C. Jordan-Russell 1 2-4, D. Dawson 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 6-12 42.
Union Pines: Johnson 6 4-6 16, Coxe 5 0-1 11, Ring 4 1-2 9, Hicks 3 3-7 9, M. Smith 3 0-0 6, D. McCrimmon 0 2-5 2, C. Evans 1 0-2 2, R. Breasseale 0 2-2 2, A. Jackson 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 12-25 59.
Three-point goals: Douglas Byrd none; Union Pines 1 (Coxe).
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