In the first NCISAA 2A Metrolina League game of the season for both teams, the Gaston Day Spartans overcame a slow start to beat Concord First Assembly 76-63 Tuesday night at home.
Concord First Assembly went on an 8-0 run to start the game and didn’t yield a point to Gaston Day in the game’s first four minutes, building a 15-10 advantage through the first quarter.
But Gaston Day finally found its groove in the second quarter by outscoring the Eagles 27-11. The Spartans grabbed their first lead at 16-15 with six minutes left in the half. They never trailed again.
Gaston Day had four players in double figures and were led by junior forward Nate Hinton with 18 points, five rebounds and five assists. Spartans joining Hinton in double figures included Brandon Reeves (16 points, three assists), MJ Armstrong (15 points, three rebounds) and Quan McCluney (12 points, six rebounds).
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Why did the Spartans start so slow?
“We came out a little flat and game preparation is everything,” said Hinton. “We didn’t come out like we usually do. Next time moving forward we’ve just got to come out in attack mode rather than waiting back.”
Concord First Assembly’s 6-foot-6 power forward Amiri Waddell was a handful all night. Waddell lead the Eagles in scoring and finished with a game-high 20 points. Stephen Edoka, a 6-5 junior wing, also had 20 for the Eagles.
Gaston Day coach Trent McCallister explained what turned the game around in the second quarter for his team.
“We saw a couple of shots go through,” he said. “We can score pretty well and sometimes you need that first bucket to go through to kind of loosen those rims up and gain a little confidence.”
A scary moment happened late in the second quarter for Concord First Assembly and Waddell when the big senior slipped and crumbled to the floor in pain. Waddell immediately went to the locker room but returned in the second half with no major issues……The Eagles only had four players score but all finished in double figures.
THREE WHO MATTERED
Nate Hinson, Gaston Day: Scored seven of his team-high 18 points in the Spartans’ big 27-point second quarter.
Strahinja Rajic, Concord First Assembly: His 13 points all came in the second half which included three 3-pointers.
Brandon Reeves, Gaston Day: The lone senior on the Spartans scored 12 of his 16 points in the decisive second half.
THEY SAID IT
“We came out how we wanted to. We have not been starting games very strong but we started strong tonight and I was happy with them. Then we just went stagnant. It’s almost like we were content with a little bit of a lead and then started turning the ball over.” Concord First Assembly coach Frank Cantadore.
RECORDS: Concord First Assembly (6-4, 0-1), Gaston Day (6-2, 1-0)
WHAT’S NEXT: Concord First Assembly plays Friday at Carmel Christian at 7:30 p.m. while Gaston Day will play Friday at High Point’s Westchester Country Day at 6:30 p.m..
CONCORD FIRST ASSEMBLY
CONCORD FIRST ASSEMBLY: Stephen Edoka 20, Amari Waddell 20, Strahinja Rajic 13, Amara Morris 10.
GASTON DAY: Nate Hinton 18, Brandon Reeves 16, MJ Armstrong 15, Quan McCluney 12, Adelekun 8, Crump 7.