Concord girls’ basketball beats Nashua South 59-43 for charity, history and maybe more

  • Concord forward Jordyn Lengle battles for a rebound against Nashua South guard Bailey Carroll on Thursday night. Lengle has been rebounding tough like this for the Crimson Tide during its recent three-game winning streak. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Concord guard Elli Cox grabs a loose ball during the first half against Nashua South on Thursday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 2/13/2020 10:33:26 PM
Modified: 2/13/2020 10:33:15 PM

For the first time since 2006, the Concord High girls’ basketball team will not finish with a losing record.

The Crimson Tide beat Nashua South 59-43 on Thursday night to improve to 9-6 with three games left in the regular season.

Freshman guard Ava Woodman led the Tide with 32 points, highlighted by an 11-for-14 effort from the free throw line. Elizabeth Blinn added 14 points for Concord, including nine in the first quarter to help the Tide to an early 20-13 lead.

“We kind of exploded in the first quarter with Ava scoring six and Blinn getting those nine,” Concord coach Tim LaTorra said. “We forced some turnovers and got some easy baskets, but we also had really unselfish play from everyone, they were giving up good shots for great shots.”

The high energy start was not a surprise. The Tide had designated Thursday as their charity night with the team selling T-shirts and asking for donations. In the end, all the proceeds were split equally among charities chosen by each player, charities they had a connection to, and the girls were fired up to be playing for those causes.

They were also excited to reverse a trend against South (7-8), the team that had ended Concord’s playoff hopes each of the last two seasons.

“They were fired up before the game for sure,” LaTorra said of his team. “We didn’t have a great record the last two years, but we still had a chance to make the playoffs going into the South game, and they beat us both times to end our chances of getting in.”

The Tide’s energy, and offense, continued in the second quarter on Thursday and Concord took a 42-21 lead into halftime.

“Everything just clicked in that first half and we were really going,” LaTorra said. “We felt great in the locker room at halftime, maybe a little too good, though.”

Concord came out slow in the third quarter, while South picked up its intensity, especially on the defensive end. The Panthers held the Tide to just six points in the third quarter, but Concord’s defense stayed strong and the lead was still substantial, 48-32, going into the fourth quarter.

“We were switching up defenses, we had some presses going, and the girls did a good job defending their half-court sets with some really good defensive execution,” LaTorra said. “And not only were we playing good defense on the perimeter and the interior, we were also rebounding the ball.”

Junior Jordyn Lengle has been a glass-cleaning machine for the Tide lately, and she kept that up on Thursday. She was also a key part of the defensive execution along with Kylar Buchholz, who played with her usual 100% effort. And LaTorra was impressed with the point guard work from Elli Cox.

“She’s really starting to think things through at the point and it’s fun to watch her do that and see the growth,” LaTorra said.

Concord has now won three in a row, a nice response to the five-game losing streak the team went through from Jan. 24-Feb. 5.

“That was kind of a perfect storm,” LaTorra said of the losing streak. “It was the toughest part of our schedule, and we had illness going through the team. It was frustrating in the moment, but really we can take a lot of positive stuff out of those games, and now we’re playing with some good confidence and energy, so that’s just awesome to see.”

The Tide has at least a .500 record locked up, but the team could do even better than that by the end of the schedule. Concord is off until Wednesday, when it travels to Spaulding, which is 11-1 but playing in Division II. The last two games are at Windham (5-7) on Feb. 25 and home against Keene (4-9) on Feb. 28. So finishing with a winning record, and maybe even earning a home playoff game, are realistic goals for the Tide.

But the team doesn’t want to look that far down the road.

“Those are possibilities, and we’ve talked about it a little bit, but, and I know it’s cliché, we try not to focus on the end result. We just try to do things the right way and try to improve and then let the results speak for themselves,” LaTorra said. “But it will certainly be an interesting last couple of weeks. A lot of the teams at the top of the standings are playing each other, so we’ll just have to wait and see how it all pans out.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20)




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