Boys’ basketball: Concord walks away from 20-point loss on Friday with lots more work still to do

Concord guard Japhet Nduwayo battles Bishop Guertin guard Connor McGowan for the ball during the first half on Friday night.

Concord guard Japhet Nduwayo battles Bishop Guertin guard Connor McGowan for the ball during the first half on Friday night. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Concord guard Japhet Nduwayo (1) battles Bishop Guertin guard Connor McGowan for the ball during the first half on Friday night.

Concord guard Japhet Nduwayo (1) battles Bishop Guertin guard Connor McGowan for the ball during the first half on Friday night. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Conord forward Alain Twite gets the ball swated away by Bishop Guertin guard Matt Chau during the second half on Friday.

Conord forward Alain Twite gets the ball swated away by Bishop Guertin guard Matt Chau during the second half on Friday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Alain Twite is surrounded by Bishop Guertin players while trying to secure a rebound during the second half on Friday.

Alain Twite is surrounded by Bishop Guertin players while trying to secure a rebound during the second half on Friday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 12-16-2023 9:06 AM

CONCORD – Crimson Tide head coach Tim LaTorra emerged from the locker room, his tie long since taken off, his sleeves rolled up and his giant portable white board rolling alongside him. His voice a bit hoarse, there was little he could do to hide his frustration after his team lost, 66-46, on its home floor to Bishop Guertin (1-1) on Friday night.

“It’s disappointing,” he said. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It goes beyond basketball. I think we’ve got a lot of things we gotta clean up.”

The game felt like pure chaos, mostly because of Concord’s play. No sequence captured the anarchy on the floor better than late in the second quarter. Tide senior Alain Twite raced down the hardwood himself with the ball but smashed a dunk attempt off the heel of the rim. After the Cardinals secured the rebound, Concord senior Japhet Nduwayo drew a charge right at the half-court line. 

Throughout Friday’s contest, though, it felt like for every heads-up charge Concord (0-2) drew, it seemed to have three head-scratching plays. The errors, from turnovers, missed layups and free throws, compounded. The Tide pulled to within six, 49-43, with 5:24 left in the fourth quarter but couldn’t string together enough consistency.

“Comes down to layups and foul shots for us I think,” LaTorra said. “You miss too many of those against any Division I team regardless of how good they are ... you’re just not going to get the result that you want.”

The Tide were 8-for-21 from the free throw line.

Nduwayo led all Concord scorers with 15 points. Twite added 12 and senior Cade Weaver had eight. BG’s Connor McGowan led the Cardinals with 20 points.

Concord entered the season in a bit of a difficult spot. LaTorra came in as the new head coach last year and took a team that won two games in 2021-22 to six wins and the cusp of a playoff berth. He talked often about needing to be patient, as this would be no quick rebuild. But he was dealt a further blow this fall when his starting point guard, Eli Bahuma, injured his knee on the football field, knocking him out for the winter season as well. 

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A team still rebuilding without their starting point guard doesn’t add up to a recipe for success. Still, LaTorra said he needs his team to dig down.

“You can’t replace an Eli,” he said. “You’re trying to take guys out of roles they’re comfortable in and force them into a role where they’re not so comfortable, but that can’t be an excuse. We’ve gotta figure out how to do it.”

When the Tide did find success offensively on Friday, it often came through turnovers and quick transition buckets. The offense struggled mightily to run half-court sets.

“We’re not moving the ball,” LaTorra said. “It’s just staying in one spot, dribbling the air out of it. We gotta do a better job of that.”

Concord now sits at 0-2, also having lost 73-58 to Trinity to open the season. The team faces Pinkerton on Tuesday and Nashua North on Thursday before a weeklong holiday break from the regular season. But improvement will need to start Monday in practice, LaTorra emphasized. He talked to his group about commitment, needing to be able to buy into what he wants out of his players.

If they can’t do that first, he said, the missed layups and turnovers will become secondary problems.

“We’ll see how the response is come Monday at practice,” LaTorra said. “Hopefully it’s a way to have our guys come back together and figure out how to become a team and let the marathon of a season improve as we go.”