Over the past couple of years, when the Concord Pirates hooked up with the Mammoth Spring Bears it meant a showdown between two of Class 1A's state title contenders.
Not this season.
The Pirates proved to be the only contender, bashing the Bears 80-46 in front of a packed house in Concord.
Concord Coach Keith Cornett was proud of his team's effort after a hard week of practice.
“They [Mammoth Spring] are down a little bit but I thought we came out with a little more intensity and a little more focused with a little encouragement from practice this week. The next day after the Pangburn game we got after it.”
Senior swingman Ryan Cornelison paced the Pirates (6-0) with a game-high 22 points, while junior point guard Jacob Roark pumped in 17 points and junior post-player Ethan Hebert added 12 points.
“Those three are good players and I have three or four more that are contributing too so it is real encouraging,” said Cornett.
The Pirates outscored Mammoth 31-4 in the first quarter and 27-15 in the second quarter for a 58-19 lead at halftime. Guard Luke Cornett got Concord rolling with a three-pointer from right wing off an assist from Roark.
Cornelison used a spin move to get free in the lane for a layup then he added 4-of-4 free throws, including two following an offensive rebound as the Pirates built a 9-0 lead before the Bears found the scoring column.
Leading 9-2, Concord used a 17-0 run to blow the game wide open, starting with two buckets inside from Hebert.
Forward Hanse Bowman followed his own miss for a bucket in transition and Bowman added a driving floater in traffic before Hebert swiped a steal and hit Roark for a breakaway layup.
Cornelison added a stick back, Roark made a pair of free throws and Cornett added one from the stripe then Hebert scored deep in the paint over two defenders, extending the Pirates' lead to 26-2.
Concord extended its lead to 42-6 when reserve guard Colton Billington drained a three-pointer from right corner midway through the second quarter but Mammoth chipped away, cutting its deficit to 49-16 on two three-pointers from Ryan Roberson.
The Pirates closed the first half with a 9-3 spurt, ignited by Roark, who hit a pull up jumper then bombed a three-pointer up top in transition. After Mammoth's Josh Cathey drilled a three-pointer from right elbow, Bowman notched a putback and reserve forward Riley Brock scored off an assist from reserve guard Cameron Reesor, extending the Pirates' halftime lead to 58-19.
Concord outscored the Bears 18-15 in the third quarter as Cornelison added six more points, while Hebert and Brock each scored four points during the period.
Page 2 of 2 - Leading 76-34 entering the fourth quarter, Concord cruised to victory as the clock ran non-stop for the final eight minutes due to the mercy-rule.
Following Cornelison, Roark and Hebert's combined 51 points, Cornett, Bowman, Billington and Brock each added six points for the Pirates.
Guard Matt Turnbough led the Bears (2-4) with 16 points, including five three-pointers, while Roberson, Cathey and Colin Powell each finished with six.