County high schools flip the calendar to spring

Basketball seasons end in playoffs

Basketball season came to an end as the four teams representing the county all dropped their NCHSAA opening games. That turns the focus of Moore County to spring sports.

Boys’ Basketball

Union Pines and Pinecrest both lost their NCHSAA playoff openers, ending boys’ basketball season in Moore County for the 2023-24 season.

Union Pines entered as a 32-seed in class 3A, giving them top-seeded Swansboro. The Vikings lost, 99-77, ending their season at 10-15. Senior Trent Hilburn scored 19 points with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in the game. Junior Jaylen Kyle also scored 19, adding 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Kinsgley Donaldson (18) and Zion Kiser (13) also scored in double figures for Union Pines, while Donaldson also had 10 rebounds.

Pinecrest drew a 22-seed and opened in 4A against No. 11 Wilmington Laney. The Patriots nearly pulled off the upset, falling, 55-53 to finish the season at 13-11.

Girls’ Basketball

North Moore entered the playoffs seeded No. 30 in the 1A bracket, giving them 3-seed East Columbus in the opening game. The Mustangs fell in a season-ending 64-22 decision, finishing the year at 8-17.

Union Pines was a 28-seed in the 3A class, drawing 5-seed Franklinton. The Vikings fell, 65-33, finishing the year at 14-12.

Spring sports

Union Pines lost to Clayton, 8-7, in boys’ lacrosse, falling to 1-1 on the year. The girls’ team beat Fayetteville Academy in a road opener by a 23-5 score. Girls’ soccer also got off to a 1-0 start with a 3-0 win over Clinton. Girls’ softball won at home over Harnett Central, 14-2, then got a 7-6 win at Cape Fear. Baseball is 1-0 after beating Gray’s Creek, 3-2.

Pinecrest baseball posted a 9-0 win over Harnett Central to get the season off on the right foot. Girls’ lacrosse beat Northwood, 18-6 to even its record after a 19-7 loss to Apex Friendship in the opener. Boys’ lacrosse opened the year with a 7-5 home loss to Apex, then won at Fuquay-Varina, 12-6. Girls’ soccer dropped its first two games, 2-0 against Wakefield and 2-1 to Wake Forest. Softball is also 0-2 after losing 11-1 to Purnell Swett and 20-2 against Apex Friendship.

North Moore’s baseball and softball teams both opened their seasons with wins. The baseball team beat Northwood, 7-1, while Mustangs’ softball topped Northwood, 9-0. The girls’ soccer team opens play this week.

By Lauren Rose

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