Here’s a tip for the rest of the teams on Concord’s girls basketball schedule: Box out Nisa Pulliam.
The 5-foot-9 junior pounded the boards constantly in the second half, scoring 22 of her 24 points as the No. 5 Raiders pulled away for a 73-53 Diamond State Classic victory over Tatnall on Saturday at the St. E Center.
Pulliam hit 12 of 16 shots from the floor. Six of her 11 second-half buckets came after offensive rebounds.
“In the first half, I wasn’t pushing myself the hardest,” Pulliam said. “I figured in the second half, I’ve got to show everybody what I’m about.”
The Raiders (4-1) will play St. Mark’s in the Delaware Cup championship game at 4 p.m. today. The Hornets (2-3) will play John Carroll (Md.) for third place at 10:45 a.m. today.
Concord built an early 11-3 lead on Meghan Doogan’s 3-pointer, only to see Tatnall storm back. The Hornets started getting to the foul line, and a fast-break layup and two free throws by Tatnall’s Emilie Hager tied it at 27 with 1:45 left in the second quarter.
The Hornets shot 23 free throws in the first half, and Erin Dodds hit 9 of 11 foul shots on the way to 16 points as Concord only led 32-29 at halftime.
“Dodds was just taking it to us,” Raiders coach John Armstrong said. “You have to be playing defense, and not just look to play offense. We got it together in the second half.”
The Raiders scored the first 12 points of the third quarter, with Doogan hitting two free throws and Pulliam and Brittany McLean combining for five layups.
“I thought the key was going inside,” Armstrong said. “We looked inside more and stopped looking to take the shot first. That was a big difference for us. I’m an inside-out coach anyway, so that’s what I want to have done.”
Concord kept pouring it on, with Pulliam attacking the glass and earning repeated second chances. She drove the baseline for a layup to push the Raiders up 52-32 with 1:50 left in the third.
Doogan added 17 points for Concord, and McLean scored 14. Dodds finished with 26 points for Tatnall.