Concord boys basketball coach Ralph Flowers used a different approach to slow down Smyrna outside shooters Ja’vier Worthy and Caleb Matthews on Tuesday night.
“We threw some junk defenses at them,” Flowers said. “[Worthy] and [Matthews] are their shooters, so we tried to change it up with a little box-and-one tonight. We normally don’t do a lot of junk defenses, but we thought it might just give us a little edge.”
The Raiders held Smyrna to one 3-pointer in the first three quarters, and used their own burst of long-range shooting to earn a 50-44 home victory over the Eagles.
Fourth-ranked Concord (7-2) trailed 17-16 at halftime, and two free throws by Charlie Taylor gave Smyrna a 20-17 lead with 6:07 left in the third quarter.
But Concord went on an 11-0 run over the next three minutes. Rick Malloy tied it with a 3-pointer from the left wing. Then Sean Brady buried back-to-back 3s – one from each wing. Noah Rivera added a short jumper off an inbounds play to push the Raiders up 28-20.
Concord’s Rick Malloy puts up a shot during a game at Concord High School on Tuesday evening. Concord defeated Smyrna by a score of 50-44.
“My team was finding me on offense, and I was just hitting my shots,” said Brady, who led Concord with 17 points. “Coach says all the time in practice, we have the green light to shoot whenever we want.”
Four free throws by Latrelle Lee pulled the Eagles within 34-31 with 7:13 left in the game. But Brady answered with another 3, and Smyra could get no closer than six points the rest of the way.
“When we miss, we’ve got to keep shooting,” said Brady, who hit 3 of 5 behind the arc.
The Raiders also did some damage inside with Rivera, a rapidly improving, 6-foot-7 junior who finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
“It was a real aggressive game, but my teammates have confidence in me,” Rivera said. “They kept giving it to me in the post where I could finish.”
Rivera only had six points at the half, but he kept pounding away.
“Noah, he’s going to keep fighting,” Flowers said. “I told him in the locker room, ‘Your teammates are going to look for you.’ We expect him to score, and he wants to score. So we’re going to keep giving him the ball.”
Concord also got a major boost from 6-4 junior Bobby White, who didn’t score but played disruptive defense and pulled down 10 rebounds.
“He was active, aggressive on defense,” Flowers said of White. “I thought he lifted the whole team up for a win tonight.”
Smyrna (5-2), which had won five straight since a season-opening loss to Caesar Rodney, got 21 points from Lee and 13 from Matthews, who hit two 3-pointers in the final 24 seconds.
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ