Quick Start Propels Byrd Past Vikes
The Douglas Byrd Eagles eliminated Union Pines in Monday’s opening round of the 3-A Cape Fear Valley Conference girls’ basketball tournament.
Entering the league tournament tilt as the CFVC sixth seed, the visiting Eagles (3-18) were led by a strong showing from their back court duo of Sade Roger and Brittany Trottman to come away with a 52-47 upset win in Bob Ward Gym in Cameron.
Union Pines (12-12) had a five-game winning streak snapped with the loss. The victory was the third for Douglas Byrd this season after going 2-10 in its CFVC campaign.
Union Pines entered the league tournament as the third seed and had high hopes of capturing the title in order to enter the postseason as a No. 2 seed with a first round home game after wrapping up their regular season CFVC campaign with a mark of 8-4.
Instead, head coach John Lewkowicz and his Lady Viking squad will have to see what transpires through the remainder of the CFVC tournament to know exactly what seed they will have in the NCHSAA 3-A girls’ state basketball tournament.
“The first quarter really set the pace in this one,” said Lewkowicz. “We were getting beat to balls, we were getting out-hustled, out-muscled, and the intensity level just wasn’t there for us. It was a very disjointed start for our team.”
The Vikings trailed Douglas Byrd 14-5 after one quarter of action, behind an eight-point, five-rebound effort in the period from 6-foot-1 Eagle center Aundraya Doyle.
Union Pines fought back early in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 14-8 on a trey by 6-foot junior captain Tiffany Hicks. But Rogers and Trottman combined for all nine of the Eagles’ points in the period to help the visitors carry a 23-16 lead into intermission.
Junior captain Lexie Coxe made two steals in the first 30 seconds of the third quarter as Union Pines went on the attack defensively. Freshman sensation Stephanie Johnson scored her first field goal of the game at the 6:04 mark of the period to cut Douglas Byrd’s lead to 25-21.
From there Douglas Byrd kept its poise. Trottman sank two big buckets and Rogers converted twice from the line to give the Eagles a 31-21 lead at the 3:15 mark.
Johnson, a 5-11 forward, scored down low late in the period on an assist by freshman forward Samantha Ring, as the Vikings entered the fourth quarter trailing 31-23.
Two offensive boards by Hicks sparked an early fourth period spurt by Union Pines that cut the Eagle margin to 31-28.
First Hicks got an offensive rebound, after a missed Vike free throw, and kicked the ball out to freshman guard MaRisa Smith, who nailed an 18-footer. Hicks followed with a putback at the 6:56 mark to make the contest a one-possession game
With 5:07 remaining, Union Pines trailed 38-32 as both teams were in the bonus and employing full-court pressure on defense. Trottman and Rogers then sparked a six-point Eagle run. Rogers connected twice from the charity stripe and Trottman made a jumper that she followed with a steal and fast-break assist to 6-1 freshman center Candace Jordan-Russell, giving Douglas Byrd a 44-32 advantagewith 4:14 remaining on the clock.
The Vikes responded with a nine-point run featuring a trey by Coxe, two free throws from Bethany Daley and a putback by Hicks. The final point of the flurry came on the front end of a 1-and-1 by Coxe that cut the Douglas Byrd lead down to 44-41 with 2:41 left on the fourth quarter clock.
Down the stretch the battle became a free-throw-shooting contest. The Eagles took a 47-41 lead when Rogers got an offensive rebound after a missed foul shot and sank both her tries at the line. A baseline runner from sophomore swingman Rachel Breasseale swished home with 53.5 seconds remaining to get Union Pines within three at 47-44.
Forced to foul with time ticking down, Union Pines sent Jordan-Russell to the line, where she sank both shots to push the Eagle edge to 49-45 with 38 seconds left in the game. Union Pines responded as Daley hit a shot in the post to bring the score to 49-47 with 20.9 ticks left.
The Eagles used one made foul shot on a double-bonus chance by Jordan-Russell, followed by a steal and lay-in from Rogers to close the game and advanced to tonight’s (Wednesday) semifinals, where they will face second-seed Southern Lee (13-11) — a 31-17 winner over seventh-seeded Western Harnett Monday in Sanford.
Rogers finished with game highs in scoring, assists and steals Monday with 20 points, seven assists and seven steals to go along with eight rebounds. Trottman closed the evening with 13 points. Doyle had eight points and 13 boards for Douglas Byrd. Jordan-Russell tallied 11 rebounds and two blocks in the tilt while scoring all seven of her points in the fourth quarter.
Coxe led Union Pines with 11 points and tallied two steals. Smith joined her in double-digit scoring with 10 points on top of four rebounds and three steals. Hicks had 9 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and three steals for the Vikings while Johnson finished with 7 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
In Monday’s other first-round CFVC tournament game the fourth-seeded Westover Wolverines (15-9) defeated the fifth-seeded Gray’s Creek Bears (4-18) by a 44-39 tally in Fayetteville. The tournament now shifts to Overhills High School in Spring Lake tonight where the regular-season champion Lady Jaguars (17-5) will play Westover in semifinal action following the first contest between Douglas Byrd and Southern Lee, scheduled to tip at 6 p.m.
Douglas Byrd 14 9 8 21 — 52
Union Pines 5 11 7 24 — 47
Douglas Byrd: Rogers 3 14-19 20, Trottman 6 0-0 13, Doyle 4 0-0 8, C. Jordan-Russell 2 3-4 7, D. Dawson 1 0-0 2, M. Sledge 0 1-2 1, A. White 0 1-2 1, J. Sherrod 0 0-2 0. Totals 16 19-29 52.
Union Pines: Coxe 2 5-8 11, Smith 3 4-7 10, Hicks 4 0-0 9, Johnson 3 1-2 7, B. Daley 2 2-2 6, R. Breasseale 1 1-2 3, D. McCrimmon 0 1-6 1, C. Evans 0 0-1 0. Totals 15 14-28 47
Three-point goals: Douglas Byrd 1 (Trottman); Union Pines 3 (Coxe 2, Hicks).
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