HSBK-M-Union Pines v Green Level

Union Pines guard Stevenson Haskell (25) stands at the point of the defense for the Vikings in the win over Green Level Monday. Union Pines defeated East Chapel Hill to earn a spot in the tournament championship game against Apex Wednesday at 8 p.m.

The Union Pines boys basketball team earned a trip to the championship game of the Yellow Jacket Christmas Classic by picking up a win In the second round taking down the East Chapel Hill Wildcats. The Vikings started off strong and didn’t look back, cruising to a 49-33 win Tuesday.

“Somewhat better game than yesterday, our defense I don’t think at times wasn’t as good as I liked it to be. We were playing really reserved but we got the win,” coach Nick Boney said.

The Vikings will be back in action in the championship game against Apex Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Union Pines (10-0) fired right out of the gate going on a 7-0 run in the first five minutes before the Wildcats (4-4) scored their first points of the game on free-throw attempts. The Vikings led 9-5 heading into the second quarter. The Vikings, despite turnovers, kept it rolling offensively as they led 23-15 heading into the half.

The defense for the Vikings stepped up big in the third just holding the Wildcats to six points in the period, taking advantage on key turnovers. In the fourth they built on that third quarter and finished off strong for the win.

“We’re going to treat this championship game like any other game and try and pick up the win,” Boney said. “It’s an opportunity for us to get better, we play in a tough conference, so we got to take that opportunity”.

Stevenson Haskell led the Vikings in scoring finishing with 18 points. Kelby Wright finished with nine points. Jack Adair and Tyson Hise finished with six points each.

“Mostly knowing when to give 100 percent and going all out and knowing when to relax so I can just stay in the game and help my team out,” Haskell said. “We just had to make sure that the ball is moving and cut through the lane and make open shots.

“We just got to be ready to play no matter who the opponent is, we got to treat it like any other game.”

Martez Cotton led the way for the Wildcats finishing with eight points.

The Vikings head into the last day of the tournament unbeaten as they look to stay perfect when they pick conference play back up next week.

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