Lady Bucks will play Apex for tourney title
Hoke County had one win a bit more than a month into the girls basketball season entering this week’s Lee County Basketball Shootout.
The Lady Bucks, members of the Southeastern Conference, won’t make another trip to Lee County in the regular season once the tournament concludes tonight but they’ll wish they could. Hoke County (3-8) got its second win in two nights, this one a 48-36 win over Union Pines (6-7), to reach Saturday night’s championship game against Apex (6-5).
The Lady Bucks jumped out to an 11-6 lead, with sophomore Shonteonna Key scoring seven points to pace Hoke out of the gates. Hoke County led the rest of the contest, most of the time by double digits.
Union Pines battled foul trouble along with an intense, constant Buck defense which allowed the Lady Vikings no rhythm.
Freshman center Stephanie Johnson, even while forced to the bench because of fouls multiple times along the way, led the Lady Vikings with 17 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots. Johnson and Charlotte Holder, another key Lady Viking inside, had three fouls by midway through the second quarter.
Hoke County took a 17-14 edge and built it up to a 27-16 halftime lead. Junior guard Courtney Pate, who was the Buck top scorer in their first-round win over Lee County, scored nine points in the first half and went on to total 17 leading the Lady Bucks.
Union Pines cut what was as large as a 17-point Lady Buck lead down to seven, 38-31, with a little less than five minutes left in the game.
Hoke County answered the threat with Shanice Horne grabbing an offensive board and scoring a hoop through physical play, then with Pate getting a steal and making two free throws for a 42-31 Hoke lead.
Horne finished with 13 points and 11 boards while Key added 12 points and eight boards.
Union Pines moves on to the third-place game of the Shootout, a match-up with Northwood at 2 p.m. in Lee County’s Main Gym.
Apex has moved through the bracket with an 82-42 win over Northern Vance Thursday and a 49-35 win over Northwood Friday. Hoke County and Apex will play the final at 6 p.m. in the Main Gym.