Boys' Basketball: West clinches playoff spot with win to Shout about at Concord
CONCORD — It was one of those all-or-nothing games for the Manchester West boys’ basketball team, and the Blue Knights made the most of their opportunity.
Needing a victory to qualify for the Division I tournament, West received a game-high 26 points from senior guard Richard Shout and wrapped up the regular season by beating Concord, 75-65, Friday night.
Although the official tournament pairings won’t be released until Monday, West will likely be the No. 15 seed and play second-seeded Trinity of Manchester in Tuesday’s preliminary round.
“We knew what was at stake tonight,” West coach Dan Bryson said. “It was win or go home.”
West fell behind 2-0, but scored the next nine points and never trailed again. The Blue Knights led 21-13 after one quarter, 38-28 at halftime and 54-39 at the end of three. Concord was never closer than seven points in the second half.
West won three of its final four regular-season games to finish with a 6-12 record.
“They’re a hard-working bunch and we’ve been getting better the last couple weeks,” Bryson said. “They’re feeding into becoming more of a team, rather than (playing as) individuals. We have a lot of individual talent. We just need to put it together and work as a team.”
Shout was one of three West players who scored in double figures. Junior forward Alfred Nyonee tossed in 17, and senior guard Zach Theriault finished with 10.
Senior guard Garrett Jewell made four 3-pointers and led Concord with 24. Freshman Matthew Giroux scored 11, and Walter Szulc and Seimou Smith each finished with 10.
“I think West did want it more,” Concord coach John Finnegan said. “You can’t teach that. You either want it or you don’t, and tonight they definitely wanted it more than we did. It was obvious.”
Concord, which also completed the regular season with a 6-12 record, will likely be the No. 16 seed and open the tournament at Manchester Central. Central (18-0) is the only unbeaten team in Division I.
“I think it’s Central’s tournament to lose. Let’s put it that way,” Finnegan said.
West, which did not make the tournament last year, dropped a 79-36 decision to Trinity during the regular season.
“We’re in now, and we’re pretty excited,” Bryson said. “It’s not going to be an easy task, but we’ll be as prepared as we can be.”