MOUNT ULLA — Concord boys coach Scott Brewer has won a lot of games, including state championships at two different schools, but he had never won in Mount Ulla before Wednesday night.
Brewer crossed that item off his bucket list when the Spiders overwhelmed West Rowan 87-52 behind 30 points by future D-I guard Connor Burchfield.
Brewer’s Central Cabarrus team had West on the ropes in Mount Ulla back in 2000, but Scooter Sherrill hit a shot, while falling into the West Crazies deep in the corner bleachers to force overtime. Scooter finished with 30 points and West finally won that game, but even Scooter couldn’t have saved the Falcons last night.
“Concord was great, and that’s about all I can say,” sighed West guard Celexus Long. “We tried to slow them down, but they kept making shots. We tried to keep attacking, but we weren’t hitting our free throws, and they were.”
West’s Crazies, all garbed in white, were more than ready for this game, and they were bolstered by reinforcements from East Rowan and Carson, who also wanted to see Concord fall.
But it didn’t come close to happening.
It got a lot quieter in the gym when Concord (4-0) jumped out 10-2, and the stands were mostly silent by halftime with the Spiders leading comfortably 48-28. With coaches from Wofford and William & Mary looking on, the 6-foot-3 Burchfield already had four 3s and 21 points at halftime.
“We were pretty frustrated at halftime because it was so physical and there was so much pushing and shoving and fouling,” Brewer said. “But you look up at the scoreboard, and we’re up 20.”
Brewer understood exactly what West coach Mike Gurley was trying to do — namely, make it helter-skelter to minimize Concord’s advantages in size, shooting and experience.
“Mike wanted to make it ugly, and he succeeded,” Brewer said. “They were trapping us and double-teaming us and kept us from running any of our stuff.”
West (1-6) was able to execute some of Gurley’s gameplan, but only pieces of it.
“If there were five parts to a play we were doing four of them right, but that fifth part was just killing us,” Gurley said. “Maybe we’d make a really good trap, but then we couldn’t get the rebound.”
Burchfield was somewhat quieter in the second half, but 6-4 senior Reid Aube pounded West on the glass and got 14 of his 16 points after halftime.
West, which lost twice to Concord by 20-plus in the regular season and the 3A playoffs last season, couldn’t mount any sort of challenge in the second half.
“Talent runs in cycles,” said Brewer, whose program also rallied to beat West in a memorable 2010 regional game. “We’re on the top side of a talent run right now, and that’s for sure, but we had some guys get a little pouty tonight when things got tough, and we can’t have that.”
Long made deep shots and finished with 11 points to lead West. Seth Martin swished three 3s for his nine points. Darius Gabriel played very well and scored nine points, but then he hurt his hip.
“West played hard and with a lot of pride tonight. Brewer said. “ As long as Gurley is coaching them, that’s not going to change.”
Najee Tucker and Daisean Reddick, quick athletes who have done some damage driving to the basket this year, were limited by the Spiders’ size. Tucker had seven points, while Reddick had four.
Concord also got double-digit scoring efforts from Darren Black (12 points) and football hero Jerry Burk (10 points), who was the South Piedmont Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
“We’re playing some veteran teams — Concord, Davie, Lake Norman — in early games that we’re really not ready to be playing yet with this young of a team,” Gurley said. “We’re 1-6, but I’m not walking out of here disappointed. We’re trying to build a championship team, and we’re going to get there.”
CONCORD (87) — Burchfield 30, Aube 16, D. Black 12, Burk 10, Childress 4, Phifer 4, Pruette 4, Twigger 3, Dowell 2, K. Black 2, Sedergren, Carmichael.
WEST ROWAN (52) — Long 11, Gabriel 9, Martin 9, Tucker 7, Reddick 4, Blackwood 4, Hodzik 2, Avery 2, Wilson 2, Phillips 2, Gallagher, Hassard, Morrison.