The Union Pines varsity girls basketball team jumped out to a 20-0 first-quarter lead and took a 55-22 Tri-County Six 3-A Conference win at Triton on Monday night.
The Viking boys seemed to have similar designs to dominate as they moved out to an early 18-6 advantage, but the Hawks came back in a game of runs to lead 32-28 at the half.
Ultimately, Ahmad Jones made a 3-pointer from well behind the arc with just over two seconds remaining to lift Union Pines to a 63-60 win.
Shiquan Cox blocked a 3-point attempt by Ryder Giles of the Vikings after Chrishaun Henry had made a pair of free throws with 16.4 seconds left for the Hawks to tie the score at 60.
Jones got the ball after the block by Cox and put it up for the game winner.
The Hawks (12-10, 3-5 TC6) trailed 60-52 with just over a minute remaining, but came back with pressure defense. Travion Sanders, Henry and Maurice Williams had baskets to get Triton within 60-58 before Henry made the pair from the line.
Williams had 20 points as the Hawks were dealt their fifth straight loss. Four of those setbacks are by a total of seven points during a portion of the schedule compacted by make-up games from snow and school closings in January.
Giles had 18 as Union Pines swept the regular-season series with Triton. The Vikings won, 52-51, at home on Jan. 31.
“I was proud of the guys who were in the game at the end,” said Hawk boys coach T.J. Morrison. “Proud of the effort to keep fighting. It hurts to not be able to finish one or get one. We’re just going through a rough patch. The way the schedule worked out, eight games in 15 days, … is really tough. It’s going to test your resolve and test your character. So far, we’ve been tested. We’ve not passed the tests just yet, but we’ve still got a few games to fight.
“I’m hoping they won’t quit and won’t give up because I know I’m not.”
Henry made six of 12 field goal attempts in scoring 16 points for Triton. Henry had 12 rebounds for a double-double. Sanders made five of seven from the floor and added 12 points. Shiquan Cox had nine points. Christion Green added three points. Cox had eight rebounds and Green pulled down seven. Kalil Hodges had five assists for the Hawks.
Triton was beset by 24 turnovers.
The Hawks visit Harnett Central on Wednesday night.
Lady Vikings 7-1 in league
The Union Pines girls improved to 15-7 overall and 7-1 in league play with control of their fate for at least a share of the conference regular-season chammpionship.
The Lady Hawks slipped to 5-17, 2-6 despite eight points from Allure Smith. Hannah Jackson and Zoie Starling scored had four points each for Triton. Kathryn Elliott scored three, Anastasia McDonald had two points and Alexis Howard added one point.
“We’re just not playing team basketball,” said Lady Hawks coach Keith Howard. “Until we start playing team basketball, these kinds of things are going to continue to happen.”