Boys’ basketball: After 0-10 start, Concord finally has its first win

Concord forward Alain Twite outrebounds Winnacunnet forward Edgar Hansen (33) during the second half on Friday night.

Concord forward Alain Twite outrebounds Winnacunnet forward Edgar Hansen (33) during the second half on Friday night. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Concord forward Alain Twite drives to the hoop as Winnacunnet guard Timothy Kollmorgen tries to defend him during the first quarter on Friday night.

Concord forward Alain Twite drives to the hoop as Winnacunnet guard Timothy Kollmorgen tries to defend him during the first quarter on Friday night. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Concord guard Chase Lawler gets fouled from behind as he drives to the basket during the first half against Winnacunnet on Friday night.

Concord guard Chase Lawler gets fouled from behind as he drives to the basket during the first half against Winnacunnet on Friday night. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Concord guard Chase Lawler gets fouled from behind as he drives to the basket during the first half against Winnacunnet on Friday night.

Concord guard Chase Lawler gets fouled from behind as he drives to the basket during the first half against Winnacunnet on Friday night. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Concord forward Alain Twite gets fouled by Winnacunnet forward Andrew Simmons at the buzzer ending the first quarter on Friday night. Twite went to the foul line for three shots after the foul.

Concord forward Alain Twite gets fouled by Winnacunnet forward Andrew Simmons at the buzzer ending the first quarter on Friday night. Twite went to the foul line for three shots after the foul. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Concord guard Japhet Nduwayo scores on a one-handed layup against three Winnacunnet players during the second half on Friday night.

Concord guard Japhet Nduwayo scores on a one-handed layup against three Winnacunnet players during the second half on Friday night. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 02-03-2024 6:51 AM

CONCORD – The Crimson Tide trailed 9-0 just 2:07 into Friday’s game against Winnacunnet (2-10). Already 0-10 on the season, it was a familiar sight.

What happened next wasn’t.

Head coach Tim LaTorra called a timeout, and over the next 13 minutes of action, Concord (1-10) outscored the Warriors, 37-9. A 3-point field goal from junior guard Chase Lawler had given the Tide a 10-9 lead with 3:10 left in the first, and it never trailed again. Concord won, 60-48.

“It’s relief,” LaTorra said after the win. “Relief, pride. I just told these guys in the huddle at the end of the game, you’re 0-10, there’s a lot of teams that fall apart at the seams, a lot of teams that go different directions, and we had the best week of practice we’ve had all season long this week. Came out and showed tonight. To stay together, to keep battling, I’m so happy, man. Happy for these guys. They deserve it.”

For an offense that entered Friday averaging just over 51 points per game, Concord had three players reach double figures in scoring. Senior forward Alain Twite led the way with 19 points, while senior guard Japhet Nduwayo had 12 and Lawler had 10. 

But the box score doesn’t tell the whole story. There was a different energy on the Tide bench Friday night. Perhaps it was a belief that at 2-9, Winnacunnet was a beatable team. Perhaps it was the dozens of young kids in the bleachers for Youth Basketball Night filling the Concord High gymnasium with endless excitement.

LaTorra attributed it to his team’s effort in practice.

“Four days of competing, getting up in guys and pressuring them, getting in passing lanes, pressuring those. Really trying to make each other better,” he said. “I think a lot of times in practice, we don’t do a great job simulating what other teams are doing. This week, every day was competitive.”

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The play of Twite and Nduwayo encapsulated the intensity best.

“What Alain Twite does on the court, you can’t put in the box score,” LaTorra said. “He may get the rebound, he may get the tip, he may just be there and draw eyes everywhere.”

Nduwayo, meanwhile, started the second quarter by missing two free throws but snagging the offensive rebound off his second miss, dribbling to the corner and knocking down a 3-pointer.

“We talk about competing every possession,” LaTorra said. “So, he misses two free throws, he could’ve just jogged back, but he went and got the rebound, extra effort. I’m proud of him, too, everything that he’s doing.”

There’s no doubt the 2023-24 season has been one of disappointment for the Tide after coming a win shy of a playoff berth last year, but Friday’s win injects some new life into the locker room with seven games still left on the schedule.

It’s safe to say that all the kids in attendance were inspired by the play, too. LaTorra has spoken frequently about wanting to rebuild the Concord program from the ground up. That starts with so many of those who came to game, waved their CHS towels and stood in line for autographs from the players after the win. In a few years, some of them will be varsity players themselves.

“It’s the best, man. It’s the best,” LaTorra said as he looked over at his players interacting with the younger kids. “This is what we’re about. I remember being a kid going to all the high school games, watching those guys, and I remember being a high schooler and having the little kids come to the games. Just sharing those experiences being able to be in a position where I can help facilitate some of that stuff, this is what we’re all about.

“This is an example of what Concord’s really about. Couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it with my guys.”