The Concord Spiders boys' basketball team had won 16 games in a row. They wrapped up their fifth straight regular season conference title and dominated the South Piedmont Conference tournament to win their fourth straight tournament title.
The Spiders breezed through the western bracket of the 3A state tournament, winning their games by an average of 13 points.
Concord was playing in their third state title game in five years and hoped to take home the second title in four years.
But in the end it was the defense that came out on top for the Rocky Mount Gryphons, beating Concord 84-79 in the 3A state championship Saturday night in Chapel Hill.
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MVP Tashawn Mabry had 26 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead Rocky Mount (24-3).
Rocky Mount built a 12-point lead at 70-58 with 3:31 remaining in the game, only to watch Concord (25-7) whittle it to 71-68 in less than a minute and a half.
Concord's Jacquise Moore (28 points) led the rush.
The Rocky Mount defense tightened, and Detrail Jenkins was a force down low, adding seven of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and collecting 11 rebounds total. The Gryphons opened the lead back to 82-73 with 33 seconds left.
Concord struggled to answer from behind the 3-point arc, only going 5-for-23 for the game.
The first half was highlighted by run-and-gun offenses from both teams, resulting in six lead changes and seven ties.
The largest lead was eight by Rocky Mount late in the first quarter.
Darius McKnight's put-back with three seconds left in the half gave the Gryphons a 38-36 lead.
Rocky Mount extended the lead to 57-51in the third quarter behind the play of Mabry. The senior had 11 points in third.
It is the Gryphons' fourth state title but first since 1982.