The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Cornelison carries Concord to title game

  • Senior forward Ryan Cornelison dropped a game-high 25 points on Saturday, carrying the Pirates past KIPP Delta 59-57 in the semifinal round of the 1A, Region 3 Tournament in Greers Ferry.
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  • Senior forward Ryan Cornelison dropped a game-high 25 points on Saturday, carrying the Pirates past KIPP Delta 59-57 in the semifinal round of the 1A, Region 3 Tournament in Greers Ferry. “Ryan played well again. He is a senior and that is what he needs to do,” said Concord Coach Keith Cornett. Concord led 21-7 after the first quarter. The Pirates started fast as forward Hanse Bowman, Cornelison and guard Luke Cornett each nailed a three-pointer in the opening minutes. KIPP (23-9) pulled within 13-7 when guard Keairion Jones hit a runner in the lane, but the Pirates responded by closing the first period with an 8-0 run, ignited by Cornelison, who hit a turnaround jumper, then drove right baseline and finished with a smooth finger roll. Roark added a pull up jumper from left wing and power forward Ethan Hebert scored from left block off an assist from Cornelison, pushing the Pirates' lead to 14 after one quarter of play. The two teams traded buckets throughout the second quarter before Concord received a big lift when reserve guard Cameron Reesor buried a deep three-pointer from left wing in the closing seconds of the first half, giving the Pirates a 34-18 advantage at halftime. KIPP came roaring back in the second half, outscoring Concord 18-12 in the third quarter as guard Bennie Rodgers scored six points off quick drives into the lane, while forward Quentin Murry added five points in the period and center Jaterius Montague also had five, including a stick back while drawing contact with 8.4 seconds left in the period. Montague canned the free throw, completing the three-point play and slicing Concord's lead to 10 at 46-36 entering the final eight minutes of play. KIPP chipped away in the fourth quarter, drawing within five when guard Bennie Rodgers drilled a three-pointer from right wing in transition. Following a timeout with 3:57 remaining, Roark ripped a three-pointer up top in transition, but KIPP responded with four straight as Montague hit a hook shot and power forward Rashad Martin scored inside off an inbound play. KIPP forward Terry Foster pulled down an offensive rebound and sank a 10-foot jumper from right side, but Roark answered with a strong driving layup, giving the Pirates a 56-51 lead with under a minute remaining. After Rodgers snuck into the lane for a putback, trimming Concord's lead to 56-53, Rodgers stole the Pirates' ensuing inbound pass, giving KIPP a chance to tie but Murry's three-point attempt from right wing was too strong. With 17.3 seconds left, Roark hit a pair of free throws as the Pirates took a 58-53 lead before KIPP guard Patrick Banks drove right side for a layup. Leading by three, Cornelison hit the back end of a two-shot foul to seal the Pirates' victory. Rodgers led KIPP with 18 points, Murry had 11 and Montague finished with nine. Cornelison scored a game-high 25 points for Concord (34-7) and Roark followed with 18, including 15 in the second half. The Pirates held on despite foul trouble, which has plagued them throughout the season. Hebert fouled out with 2:23 remaining, leaving Concord with a small lineup. “We got into foul trouble again and that dictates how we play,” said Cornett. “This has happened to us all year long but we usually end up holding on for the win. Foul trouble plagues us. It's not that I don't have quality kids to come in it's just that we don't have much size to bring in. I have to bring in a 5'7” [player] off the bench no matter who gets into foul trouble. Tonight, we needed something besides 5'7” but I am proud of my guys. They gutted it out.” Concord opens state tournament play in Bradley today at 2:30 p.m
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