Locked in a half-court game and trailing by six at halftime, Concord coach Keith Cornett decided to turn up the heat on Emerson's black and gold Pirates Monday in the quarterfinals of the 1A state tournament at North Arkansas College.
Locked in a half-court game and trailing by six at halftime, Concord coach Keith Cornett decided to turn up the heat on Emerson’s black and gold Pirates Monday in the quarterfinals of the 1A state tournament at North Arkansas College.
The No. 1 ranked purple and gold Pirates of Concord jumped all over Emerson to start the second half, suddenly snatching the lead a little over a minute into the third quarter.
Concord cruised from there on out, defeating Emerson 64-49 on its way to Tuesday’s semifinal round versus Scranton.
“We changed up our philosophy and tried to pick up the pressure on them,” said Cornett. “Even though my post kids were in foul trouble we tried to really get after them and play the way we used to always play. We haven’t played that way in a long time but it seemed to work for us in the second half.”
Down 29-23, point guard Jacob Roark came away with a steal, which led to a putback in transition by guard Luke Cornett. The Pirates immediately turned to their full court press, which quickly paid off as forward T.J. Richardson stole the inbound pass and scored while drawing a foul.
Richardson completed the three-point play, causing Emerson to call for timeout, but the Pirates’ onslaught continued as Roark poured in five straight, first swiping a steal and scoring in the open floor.
Roark then drilled a three-pointer out front before Emerson reserve guard Hunter McNeil responded with a three-pointer from left elbow. Richardson answered with a three-pointer from right corner and two minutes later Richardson nailed a three-pointer from right wing off an assist from Roark.
Concord pushed its lead to 42-33 when Cornett found forward Ethan Hebert cutting down the baseline for a layup, but Emerson closed the period with a 4-1 flurry to trim the Pirates’ lead to 43-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
Roark sank 11 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter as Emerson chose to foul early and often in an attempt to catch up. Hebert and forward Hanse Bowman each converted an old-fashioned three-point play in the final eight minutes, helping the Pirates sail down the stretch.
Roark and Bowman scored all of Concord’s points in the first half. Roark opened the game on fire, drilling his first five shots, including three shots launched from beyond the arc.
The lead changed hands eight times in the first quarter. Emerson guard Tavion Revels turned a pair of steals into layups and scored from right block, giving his team an 11-10 lead with three minutes left in the opening period.
With Concord trailing by a bucket late in the first quarter, Roark popped a 19-foot pull up jumper, tying the score at 15-15 after one quarter of play.
Emerson outscored Concord 14-8 in the second quarter behind five points from McNeil, four from forward Datwain Smith and three from Revels.
Revels led Emerson (29-9) with 15 points, McNeil followed with 11, Cromeans had nine and Smith finished with seven.
Roark posted a game-high 35 points, connecting on 9 of 16 shots from the field, including 5 of 9 from three-point range. Roark, who hit 12 of 14 free throws, also had seven rebounds, four steals and five assists for Concord.
Bowman followed with 12 points, Richardson added nine – all in the third quarter, and Hebert chipped in six for the Pirates, who entered Tuesday’s state semifinal game with a record of 38-2.