The Concord basketball team expects to win. This season, the Spiders haven't disappointed, as they are off to another strong start at 8-1, including a 3-0 record in South Piedmont Conference play.
Concord is playing at their usual frenetic pace, averaging nearly 89 points per game, with a lineup that easily goes nine or 10 players deep on a regular basis.
"We do expect to win," said Concord basketball coach Scott Brewer. "But a lot of pressure comes with that. But, overall, it is a good problem to have."
Mount Pleasant (4-6, 0-3), in only its second year in the SPC and class 3A, has been on the other end of the spectrum, winning five games, including three in league play, to finish next to last in the conference last season.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"We feel like we can be a lot better this year, having experienced the conference," said Mount Pleasant basketball coach Michael Johnson.
The Tigers have a lot to prove to themselves and Concord after being blown out by 44 points at home last year and losing by a 30-point margin at the Spiders' house.
Playing at Concord will be a tough test for the Tigers but also could be a big momentum boost, if they can keep it close.
The Spiders are usually loaded in the backcourt, and this year is no different.
Senior Jacquise Moore is the leader of the team, and he is the front man on Concord's vaunted full-court pressure, but he is hardly alone.
Junior Kendall Knorr has been playing great, averaging nearly 20 points per contest in the last month, while cat-quick sophomore point guard Darren Black is becoming one of the league's best playmakers.
Kriston Beasley, Connor Burchfield and seniors Patrick Jenkins and Will Vanderburg are also a part of a backcourt that comes in waves and is nearly impossible to match-up against.
The Spiders' weakness is inside, where 6-foot-2 forward Xavier Stywall is the leader, looking for consistent contributions from Terrence Knox and Robbie Piggot.
The Spiders will look to run the ball and will apply their full-court pressure wear down a thinner Mount Pleasant team.
If the Spiders establish their pace early, this game could get ugly for the Tigers.
The Tigers know what to expect in their second year in the SPC, but that doesn't make it any easier for a team trying to climb the ladder in a talented conference.
Senior two-guard Mitchell Swarengin and junior point guard Dylan Calicutt will be in charge of trying to attack the relentless pressure of the Spider defense.
Swarengin, who averages 19 points per game, likes to go fast, but he will need to help control tempo and keep the game as slow as possible. Swarengin will also need his teammates, like Calicutt, to step up and make the Tigers' more balanced.
Senior pivot Dezmond Leach will also be key, as he will get easy opportunities when Mount Pleasant breaks the pressure, and he must convert. Leach will also need to help control the boards for the Tigers to have any chance of slowing down the game's pace.
Mount Pleasant will have to play its best game of the year to stay close to Concord. The Tigers must keep the game in the 60s or lower to have any chance of winning.