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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Harlan steers Lady Pirates past ICC

  • Concord starts two freshmen and a sophomore, but it was senior guard Sydney Harlan who saved the evening for the Lady Pirates on Friday.
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  • Concord starts two freshmen and a sophomore, but it was senior guard Sydney Harlan who saved the evening for the Lady Pirates on Friday.
    Harlan scored 17 of her game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter as Concord survived a second-half drought, pulling away from Lady Cougars late for a 70-53 victory.
    "We are really young and we've actually had the lead in three of our four losses and it's just something where I think they've got to learn how to win and finish games," said Concord Coach Michael Strother. "I was afraid we were going to lose that one but they found a way, learned a lot and I hope they grew up a little bit. They played hard, battled and Sydney hit some big free throws at the end. I was proud of the way they finished the game out tonight."
    Concord built an early 12-2 lead as sophomore post player Madison Robbins scored from right block and freshman guard Mallory Benton scored off a drive before ICC post player Hannah Doty hit a tough leaner from left baseline.
    Freshman guard Emily McClure swiped a steal and scored in the open floor while drawing contact following a give and go assist from guard Sydney Harlan. After McClure completed the three-point play, Harlan scored three straight, including a driving layup.
    Robbins added a bucket from right block off an assist from guard Kaylynn Bradford as the Lady Pirates extended their lead to 12-2 before ICC began to find a rhythm.
    Forward Alex King and forward Lauren Jones sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around a basket in transition by Robbins, trimming Concord's lead to 16-14, but Robbins scored again, this time on a turnaround bank shot.
    ICC closed its deficit to 18-15 on a driving layup by Jones, but Harlan countered with a three-pointer from left corner off an inbound play. After Doty turned an offensive rebound into a free throw, Benton stayed with her shot, which was initially blocked, and scored from left baseline.
    Doty answered with a driving layup late, slicing Concord's lead to 23-18 heading into the second stanza.
    The Lady Pirates opened the second quarter with a 9-2 run, which included six points by Harlan. Benton added a three-pointer from top of the key off an assist from Harlan as Concord's lead grew to 35-23 at halftime.
    With Concord leading 42-29 after a breakaway layup by Benton, ICC suddenly seized momentum, closing the third quarter with a 13-0 run highlighted by four points each from Jones and Doty, plus a three-pointer from left corner by King, tying the score at 42-42 entering the fourth quarter.
    The Lady Cougars opened the fourth with five straight as Jones scored in the paint and King ripped a three-pointer up top following a steal by Doty, but Concord managed to regroup when Harlan answered with a three-pointer from left wing.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Lady Pirates tied the score at 47-all on a backside putback from senior forward Mandi Thompson, but ICC guard Erica Sac pushed the Lady Cougars back on top with a pair of free throws.
    McClure hit a short jumper from right baseline before Sac sank another free throw. Clinging to a one-point lead, Concord regained control on consecutive rebound buckets, including one from McClure and another by Robbins.
    Harlan then took control, drilling a three-pointer from left wing and scoring in transition off an assist from McClure, forcing ICC to call for timeout with 2:57 remaining and the Lady Pirates leading 58-51.
    Following the break in action, Doty sank a baby hook shot but Concord used stifling defense and precise free throw shooting to put the game away. The Lady Pirates held ICC scoreless in the final three minutes while connecting on 8 of 10 free throws, including 7 of 8 by Harlan.
    Bradford and Harlan each scored off a steal in the final minute as Concord closed the game out with a 12-0 surge.
    "They made that big run and went up and I was thinking we might give it away right here if we are not careful," said Strother. "But we got a steal, Sydney hit a three and we got a bucket. We got to clicking a little but, got a few steals and finished the game out strong for a change."
    Doty led ICC (3-4) with 20 points while King and Jones each scored 15.
    Following Harlan's game-high 31 points for Concord (3-4), McClure added 13, while Robbins and Benton each contributed 10.

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