Union Pines defeats Southern Lee, 44-24

Union Pines head coach Nick Boney coaches from the sidelines in a game last season.

The Union Pines boys basketball team opened their 2021-22 season with a road win over Jack Britt Monday night. It was back and forth all night between the two sides with the Vikings coming out on top to win 40-35 to give head coach Nick Boney his 100th win as the coach of the Vikings.

The Vikings lost senior guard Stevenson Haskell early with an injury that set the tone for the game as the team came together and to pick up the win with late turnovers in the final minutes of the game.

“Our defense is who we are, they are the catalyst of this team,” Boney said on the key turnovers in the game.

The first quarter was all defense as the Vikings held a 9-8 lead. This would then carry into the second quarter where both teams made the key plays and defensive stops needed to keep the game close heading into halftime where the Vikings held a 20-16 lead.

The Buccaneers came firing out of halftime with a wave of 3-pointers, but the Vikings didn’t back down. Buccaneers took the lead 32-31 with a floater to end the third quarter. The Viking’s defense took over in the fourth, holding Jack Britt to just three points in the final eight minutes.

“We executed at the end especially with the turnover that we caused towards the end,” Boney said. “We didn’t back down, especially with the three pointers, so we fought to the end.

“I feel confident our seniors are playing more minutes than they did last year as juniors, and I was impressed with their performances tonight.”

Senior Kelby Wright had 10 points and four rebounds to lead the Vikings. Bandy Hackett and Jack Adair each had eight points each.

Union Pines Girls Come Together Late In Win

The Union Pines Lady Vikings picked up their first win of the season on the road at Jack Britt Monday night. After a rough first half the Lady Vikings found their momentum to put away the Buccaneers, 39-23.

The Vikings were able to jump out to an early lead in the first quarter and extended the lead in the second to make it a 12-point game at the half. Senior Sara Adams helped set up the scoring for the Vikings with turnovers leading the way with seven total steals in the game.

The Vikings found momentum in the third quarter and didn’t look back even with the Lady Bucs keeping it close at times. Senior Aaliyah Balser led the Vikings in scoring with 18 points and recorded 12 boards.

“Defensively we kept the pressure on their offense, our speed on defense was a key part. We just got to work on finishing on the offensive side,” coach Anissa Little said of the win.

Senior Gianna Silvestri contributed with six rebounds and freshman Taryn Pekala had five steals for the Vikings.

“I feel confident heading into this season, we have a tougher conference this year and more competition with these 4A schools, but we have senior leadership,” Little said. “Sara has been part of a championship team for three years, so she knows what it takes, Aaliyah coming from a successful O’Neal program, they know what it takes to win.”

Union Pines hosts Corinth Holders Tuesday.

Union Pines Finish Tied For First at Vikings Invitational

After sending 12 wrestlers to the podium, the Union Pines wrestling team finished in a tie with 4A powerhouse Lake Norman in the Vikings Invitational hosted by Union Pines Saturday.

Both Union Pines and Lake Norman registered 193.5 team points in the win. Pinecrest finished in fourth place.

Taking first place in the event for the Vikings were Brock Sullivan and Aiden McCafferty. Jayden Crawford and Colton Collins finished in second place. Third-place finishers included Keaton Crawford, David Worley, Gaige Lloyd, Nicholas Mascolino and Kellen DeVries.

Matt Rowland was Pinecrest’s only first-place finisher. The Patriots had five wrestlers finish in second place: Riley Merchant, Cooper Ogden, Robert Hyder, Yesaya Moler and Chase Godwin.

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