Lady Vikings hang on to perfect league record
Union Pines defeated Southern Lee for the third time this girls basketball season, though Tuesday night's game at Cavalier Court was the closest of the three as the Lady Cavaliers (8-10, 3-5) rallied from 22 points down early in the fourth quarter to as close as seven with less than three minutes left.
The Lady Vikings (16-2, 8-0) stopped Southern Lee's rally there and stayed undefeated, and at least two full games up on the rest of the Cape Fear Valley Conference, with a 68-59 win.
Union Pines pressured and hurried the Lady Cavaliers into mistakes for most of the game. The Lady Vikings took a 45-25 lead to the fourth quarter.
The Lady Cavaliers had chipped the lead down to 16 points when scoring three points at a time got the Cavs back into the game.
Makenzie Cicogna's offensive board and three-point play followed by a Lady Viking turnover and Jordanna Kalkhof's three-pointer cut the Lady Viking lead to 51-41.
Kalkhof hit another triple a couple Lady Cav possessions later, making it 54-46 with 3:02 remaining. The Lady Cavs stole the insuing inbounds pass and wound up with Cicogna making 1 of 2 at the foul line.
With the Lady Cavalier shooting suddenly on fire, there was plenty of time left. Union Pines answered by getting aggressive against the Cav pressing.
Maresa Smith, who scored 15 of her team-high 19 points in the second half, dribbled through the full-court defense and dished to Tiffany Hicks for a lay-up.
A basket in the paint by Cicogna got Southern Lee within seven again. Smith made 1 of 2 free throws, followed by the Lady Vikings getting a defensive stop, then Nyona Shields making two free throws for a 59-49 lead with 1:59 left.
The Lady Cavaliers kept scoring, as they posted 34 points in the last eight minutes, but couldn't fight all the way back.
Cicogna led the Lady Cavs with 20 points and 15 rebounds. She had 13 points and 10 boards in the second half. Kalkhof scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half and added eight steals and five assists. Jasmine McIver scored nine of her 11 points after halftime and totaled six assists. Rachel Wilson scored eight points, all in the second half.
For the Lady Vikings, Smith made four threes, three in the third quarter. The Lady Vikings stretched an eight-point lead up to the 45-25 margin going to the fourth in the last few minutes of the third quarter.
Stephanie Johnson had 13 points and 12 rebounds while Hicks had 10 points and 14 rebounds. Lexie Coxe added 12 points. Shields totaled nine points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals.
Union Pines had beaten the Lady Cavaliers during Lee County's Christmas tournament, 65-30, then a few days later in their first CFVC game in Cameron, 63-40.
Union Pines plays at second-place Terry Sanford (11-7, 5-2) at 6 p.m. this evening. Terry Sanford defeated Gray's Creek 64-38 Tuesday night.
Southern Lee will host Lee County at 6 p.m. Thursday for the first conference game but the second meeting of the season - Lee County (6-12, 2-5) won 51-33 during the same Christmas tournament.