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Northwood picks up Non-Conference Win over Union Pines

January 4, 2009
Northwood High School



Union Pines Struggles in Home Loss

BY F.W. MANNING II: SPECIAL TO THE PILOT

Union Pines continued its up and down play Friday.

Untimely turnovers and inconsistent offense doomed the Vikings in a 57-50 home loss to non-conference foe Northwood.

Northwood opened the game with a fury to take a 15-7 lead with 1:02 left in the first period. The Vikes then closed the quarter out on a six-point run to trail 15-13. In the second quarter Northwood exploited the Vike 1-2-2 half court zone defense, as they buried three three-point shots.

Vike Stefan Demirovic scored Union Pines' first five points of the second quarter and then Eric Smith electrified the crowd with a one-handed dunk to tie the game at 20-all with 5:38 left in the half. Union Pines would go on to take a 26-23 lead at the 2:28 mark, only to see the Chargers score the final five points of the half and take a 28-26 lead at the break.

 


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Smith had eight first-half points to lead the Vikes in scoring, however Jon Toomer had just four points and post man Chris Henderson did not score. Northwood point guard Ridge Smith led his team with 13 first-half points, while shooting guard Jake Houck scored 11.

Northwood's zone press defense forced six Viking turnovers in the third quarter as the Chargers opened the second half on a 9-2 run. With 2:59 on the clock Houck hit Harold Baldwin with a swing pass in the left corner where he sank a three-pointer to put Northwood up 37-28. Baldwin would make another trey and two pull-up jumpers to score the Chargers' last 10 points of the period, as they led 44-34 as play shifted to the final quarter.

Down 47-38, with six minutes remaining, Union Pines mounted a charge. A Will Maness three-pointer and a three-point play the old fashioned way by Toomer, trimmed Northwood's lead to 48-44 with 3:12 left. However, two costly Vike turnovers spelled the end to the run as both miscues resulted in Northwood buckets, giving the Chargers a commanding 54-44 lead with 1:32 left.

Houck led all scorers on the night with 18 points. Smith scored 15 points for the Chargers to go long with seven assists and two steals. Baldwin finished the night with 15 points.

Toomer led Union Pines with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Smith had 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and two steals. Henderson finished with six points and nine rebounds. Demirovic chipped in with five points and six boards despite seeing limited playing time.

With the loss, the Vikes are 6-7 on the season. Union Pines recently participated in this year's Granite City Classic holiday basketball invitational, held in Mount Airy. The Vikings went 1-1 in the tournament, falling 68-51 to the 1-A Mount Airy Granite Bears and defeating the 1-A East Surry Cardinals 64-55.

Toomer took home All-Tournament honors, scoring 44 points and collecting 27 rebounds in Union Pines' two games in Mount Airy. In the Vikes' victory Tuesday over the Cardinals, Toomer scored 26 points and pulled down 19 rebounds.

Currently 2-1 in league play, Union Pines returns to Cape Fear Valley conference competition on Tuesday night, when they battle the Harnett Central Trojans in Cameron.


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