It wasn't pretty. However the No. 1 ranked Pirates took care of business on Friday, advancing to the 1A state quarterfinals with a 38-26 win over tournament host Jasper at North Arkansas College.
It wasn’t pretty. However the No. 1 ranked Pirates took care of business on Friday, advancing to the 1A state quarterfinals with a 38-26 win over tournament host Jasper at North Arkansas College.
Senior point guard Jacob Roark scored a game-high 25 points, sinking 12 of 15 free throws including 6 of 8 in the fourth quarter as Jasper fouled to try and extend the game.
Jasper made eight total field goals, but stayed in the game by slowing the pace and drawing fouls in a game that was tightly officiated from the start. Jasper finished 8 of 13 at the foul line. Concord shot 16 of 22 at the charity stripe.
“This is the state tournament and they need to let the players decide this game,” said Concord coach Keith Cornett.
“The game was not physical. We’ve played games this year that were really physical, like Cedar Ridge, and nobody was in foul trouble. It just hurts me to see them not let these kids play because of how it’s officiated. But we will move on and hopefully play a little better. That wasn’t the whole thing we didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight but we played okay defensively.”
Concord took an early 3-2 lead on a three-pointer by guard Luke Cornett, but Jasper continuously answered, claiming an 8-5 advantage as forward Nicolas James scored four in a row on two free throws followed by an 18-foot jumper up top.
Roark responded with five consecutive points, including a pull up jumper from right baseline, giving the Region 3 champion Pirates a 10-8 lead. After guard Peyton Clark sank two free throws, Concord closed the first quarter with a 5-0 spurt, starting when Roark drilled a step-back three-pointer from left elbow, receiving a kind bounce off the back iron.
With Jasper holding for the last shot, Cornett stripped a steal near mid-court and drove to the basket for a layup, giving the Pirates a 15-10 lead after one quarter of play.
Concord pushed its lead to 17-10 on a pair of free throws from Roark, but Jasper bounced back, scoring five straight as James turned an offensive rebound into a free throw, forward Tyler Richardson pulled down a rebound and hit a tough bank shot and Clark added a basket.
Roark blew past his defender and scored while drawing contact and he completed the three-point play, boosting Concord’s lead to 20-15, which they carried to the locker room after Jasper stalled the final two minutes.
Jasper pulled within two when guard Justin House drained a three-pointer with 5:45 to play in the third quarter, but Concord outscored the black and silver Pirates 7-2 throughout the duration of the period, taking a 23-18 lead on a three-point play by Cornett, who used a pump fake to score inside.
Roark pulled down an offensive rebound and dished to forward Hanse Bowman for a layup before Jasper guard Randall Keef ripped a three-pointer from right elbow. Roark would answer, spinning into the lane and dropping a hanging jumper in a crowd as Concord took a 28-21 lead to the fourth quarter.
Concord maintained its lead throughout the final eight minutes behind Roark, who scored eight points while using his superb ball handling skills to frustrate Jasper.
House and center Trevor Jeanes each scored five points to lead Jasper (22-19), while Clark and James had four apiece.
Following Roark’s game-high 25 points for Concord (37-2), Cornett scored eight, forward Ethan Hebert chipped in three on 3 of 6 free throw shooting and Bowman contributed a basket.