Boys basketball: Concord at East Rowan
GRANITE QUARRY — The East Rowan boys basketball team underwent a remarkable transformation in a span of three days this week.
Tuesday, East Rowan managed just 29 points for the game in a deflating loss to Carson. Friday at home against a strong Concord Spider team, the Mustangs scored 30 points in the fourth quarter alone and almost pulled off the big upset. The Spiders (13-6, 8-3 SPC) prevailed in overtime 72-70 thanks to a driving shot by Ray Kowalski with 5.5 seconds left, but they still had to fend off one final shot by the red-hot Mustangs.
Freshman guard Trell Baker hit the clutch game-tying shot at the buzzer to end regulation at 66-66. As the final seconds of overtime ticked off the ball ended up in his hands again at the top of the key, but this time he hit the front of the rim as the horn sounded.
“It felt good, and I thought it was good,” Baker said. “I just lined it up and released it but it didn’t go.”
Baker’s last jumper was one of the few shots the Mustangs (7-10, 4-7 SPC) missed down the stretch as they drained an amazing 13 3-pointers for the game — 11 in the second half and eight in the final quarter and overtime — when it really counted. The long-range assault enabled East Rowan to overcome the Spider superior size and their 13-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
“When you believe, anything is possible, ” East Rowan head coach Trey Ledbetter said. “We were just trying to hang around long enough to start believing. We are not into moral victories, but that was just a total team effort. The whole team was involved.”
The long-range aerial assault for East Rowan started as the final quarter opened when guard Logan Shuping hit a a pair of threes. Then Tay Davis connected followed by a Baker 3-pointer, a Brayvon Goodlet layup, then a trey by Seth Wyrick. Suddenly East Rowan was in front for the first time 53-52 with 4:51 left.
Concord went back to their inside strength behind 6-8 center Malik Ford, Kowalski and Hamsah Nasirildeen and led 66-58 with 30 seconds left. But Goodlett hit back to back threes, the last with 7 seconds left in regulation, to cut it to 66-64. The inbound play was deflected and ended up with Baker at the top of the circle. His shot went through as the buzzer sounded to tie it at 66 and send the game to overtime.
In the extra period, East Rowan led twice but it was tied at 70-70 when the Mustangs went to a delay offense with 1:30 left to try and set up a good shot for the win. But a disputed double dribble call turned over the ball to the Spiders with 25 seconds left and set the stage for Kowalski’s game winner.
“I thought we gutted it out and found a way to win,” Spider head coach George Walker said. ” (East Rowan) shot incredibly well, and when you are hitting threes like that, that is the great equalizer. But to win on the road on a Friday night in this league is really big.”
East Rowan was led by Shuping with 23 and Goodlett with 18 as each nailed five 3-pointers. Davis had 14, including 11 in the second half, while Baker added eight.
Concord was led by Ford with 16 points and 11 rebounds, followed by Kowalski with 14. Forward Terry Cassell had 10.
Concord (72): Ford 16, Kowalski 14, Cassell 12, Nasirildeen 9, Rotan 8, Black 8, Parker 3, Twigger 2
East Rowan (70): Shuping 23, Goodlett 18, Davis 14, Baker 8, Wyse 4, Se. Wyrick 3, Elliott.
Concord 14 23 12 17 6 — 72 (OT)
East Rowan 10 15 11 30 4 — 70
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