Despite squandering a 15-point second-half lead, the Jay M. Robinson Bulldogs held off the Concord Spiders, 75-71, to take home the South Piedmont 3A Conference title Friday night.
Robinson used a 24-4 run in the first half to take control and would lead 41-30 at the half. The lead was 45-30 early in the third quarter and was still double digits late in the third but Concord responded, scoring 11 straight points late in the quarter to cut the lead to 57-52.
In the fourth, Robinson kept the lead until just over a minute remaining when Hamsah Nasirildeen scored to tie the game at 69. After a timeout, Robinson’s star point guard Lavar Batts Jr drove the lane and found Rashon Gray for a layup and a 71-69 lead.
Trailing 73-71 with 12 seconds left Concord had a final chance to either tie or win it, but a three from PJ Hall was no good and Gray grabbed the rebound with a second left and hit two free throws to seal the win.
Quote: “We came out and played Bulldog basketball,” Robinson head coach Lavar Batts Sr said. “We were ready for a fight and I knew Concord would come back because they’re a really good team, but I’m proud of my guys.”
Records: Robinson improves to 20-3 and 17-1 in the South Piedmont 3A Conference while Concord drops to 21-3 and 16-2.
Worth mentioning: Daniel Spencer led Robinson with 23 points while Batts had 17, and Batts became Robinson’s all-time leading scorer. Nasirildeen led all scorers with 27 points for Concord and Rechon “Leaky” Black added 21.
The atmosphere inside Robinson’s gym was electric, and the stands were full by 5:30pm while the JV game was taking place.
In the girls game, Concord held Robinson without a field goal for the first 13 minutes of the second half to help defeat the Bulldogs 39-32. Jada Black led Concord with 13 points.
What’s next: Both teams will host first-round games in the Conference tournament with Robinson as the top seed and Concord the second seed. Semis and finals will take place at Cox Mill High School.