Concord boys too talented for Hornets

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 20, 2006

By Mike London

Salisbury Post

Concord’s Lance Lewis may suit up in the NFL down the road, and Dee Bost could make an NBA roster.

Danny Nieman, Jimmy Drye and Marc Newton can play too, making Concord the most talented team that will visit Salisbury’s gym all season.

Salisbury fell behind 10-0 but made a game of it before losing 73-56 on Wednesday night. The Hornets

(4-4) clawed within three points late in the third quarter.

“As far as intensity and effort and running our secondary break, this was the best 32 minutes we’ve had,” Salisbury coach Jason Causby said.

Salisbury got 21 points and nine boards from an inspired Joe Allen.

Concord (5-3) was balanced, with Drye getting 18 points, Lewis 17 and Bost 15. Nieman had 14, all in the second half.

Concord’s record is deceiving. The Spiders, 3A runners-up last season, are just now working Lewis and Bost, the receiver and quarterback who keyed the school’s recent football state championship, into the basketball mix.

“We’re gelling and getting our basketball legs,” Concord coach Andy Poplin said “I like the enthusiasm and unselfishness.”

Concord’s only weakness is that it’s not big. Allen, Brandon Abel, Zac Rose and Nick White are all 6-foot-4 or taller and did serious damage for the Hornets.

“I know Concord well and knew we had to ask our guards to sacrifice shots and go to our big guys,” said Causby, who coached Concord’s jayvees a few years ago. “Even if we had to force it in there, we had to try to exploit that advantage.”

It worked.

“Salisbury’s size and toughness inside was something we couldn’t match up with,” Poplin said. “We wanted to save our legs some (Concord played Tuesday and has a big game with Central Cabarrus Friday), but I got tired of them dumping the ball inside on us. The only way we could stop that was getting out and playing our running, jumping game.”

Concord was dazzling early, with Bost burying a big-time, step-back 3-pointer and Lewis making an electrifying crossover for a layup, then wowing the crowd with a devastating dunk.

Allen kept the Hornets afloat in the first quarter, scoring with either hand in the lane and making smooth reverses. He had Salisbury’s first five buckets.

“Coach told us they didn’t really have big men, so I was looking to take it up strong or hit a teammate backdoor if I didn’t have the shot,” Allen said.

White had a dunk and two more field goals in the second quarter, but Concord, which shot 61.5 percent in the first half, still rolled to a 37-26 lead at the break.

When Bost opened the second half with a bucket, Concord led by 13, but the Hornets were sensational the next six minutes. Abel and Rose had all the points in an 18-8 run that cut the deficit to 47-44.

But Concord answered with six straight points, and Nieman’s solid play kept the Hornets at bay the rest of the way.

“Danny’s adjusting to a new role now that Lance and Dee are here,” Poplin said. “We had the ball in Danny’s hands every second in the early games; now we’re asking him to shoot. He attacked in the second half. That’s the Danny we need.”

CONCORD (73) –Drye 18, Lewis 17, Bost 15, Nieman 14, Newton 7, Wise 2, Smith, Franklin, Beecher, Dentino, Oakes, Thompson.

SALISBURY (56) — Allen 21, Abel 11, White 8, Rose 7, Campbell 4, Ali 3, Phifer 2, Williams.

Concord 25 12 16 20 — 73

Salisbury 12 14 18 12 — 56

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Contact Mike London at 704-797-4259 or mlondon@salisburypost.com.

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