Orioles split pair of hard-fought contests
It was another week of competitive basketball for the Concordia Orioles that led to a split, bouncing back from a tough loss at Northwest (Hughesville) last Tuesday night to defeat Carrollton at home Friday evening.
At Northwest 52
The Orioles came firing out of the gates, getting a three-pointer and seven first-quarter points from Matt Gatewood. Cameron Kelly added six points on three baskets for a 20-12 lead.
But the Mustangs picked up the defensive intensity in the second period, holding Concordia to a single point. Four points each from Alex Formuzan and Connor Tichenor helped put Northwest up 24-21 at the half.
Spencer Brown came up with five points out of the halftime break, and Tate Bittiker added four points in the third quarter to claw the Orioles within two, 37-35.
Gatewood came up big in the final period, knocking down three shots and scoring seven points. Brown and Cameron Cooper combined to go 7-for-8 from the free-throw line to give Concordia a chance.
But four points each from Formuzan, Braiden McEachern and Dallin Townsend on six field goals helped Northwest hang on by the skin of its teeth. Townsend led the Mustangs with 12 points.
Gatewood had a game-high 14 points to lead Concordia. Brown scored 11, and Kelly added seven points.
At Concordia 58
Kelly hit three out of four free throws and scored five points in the opening quarter, but Carrollton still grabbed a 9-7 lead.
Four points each from Jaceton Stark and Hayden Ritchart helped the Trojans maintain the lead, but Kelly added another six points in the second period. Five points from Abram Frerking kept the Orioles within striking distance at 24-20 at halftime.
The third quarter was where it all finally came together for Concordia. Frerking exploded for 12 points on six buckets, and Gatewood added seven points more.
The Orioles topped it all off with their best defensive quarter, holding Carrollton to seven points in the period and seizing a 44-31 lead.
Stark and Brett Pierson tried to rally the Trojans with seven points each in the fourth, but Concordia fended off a comeback thanks largely to six points on three shots in the quarter from Kelly. Stark led Carrollton with 16 points.
Only five players scored for the Orioles, but that would be all they needed. Kelly paced Concordia with 19 points. Frerking pumped in 17 points, and Gatewood scored 15. The victory over Carrollton was the 150th for head coach Brent Cooper.
Concordia evens its record at 2-2. The Orioles battled crosstown rival Saint Paul last night in the first round of the I-70 Conference tournament.