ABILENE — Looking for a regular season sweep of the Abilene Cowboys, the Concordia Panthers found themselves in Harms’ way.
Jacob Harms, a 6-8 senior, scored 24 points, including 20 in the second half, as Abilene avenged an earlier loss with a 62-54 North Central Kansas League win Friday night.
Harms managed just 10 points in the Concordia’s 62-61 win over Abilene back in December, but was dominant over the final 16 minutes of the rematch.
“It is hard to guard 6-8 when he is fundamentally sound, keeps the ball above his head and finishes at the rim. There is only so much you can do,” Concordia coach Michael Roe said,, “I think they are trying to look to him more. It seemed like his teammates found him at the right time.”
The loss was the third in the last four games for the Panthers, who fall to 9-4 overall and 5-2 in the League.
“We just need to keep our heads up and keep working. We have played some good competition,” Roe said, “It is a long way until the end of the season, and we still have to get better.”
Abilene improves to 11-2 overall and 5-1 in NCKL play.
Harms scored four points as the Cowboys jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the game.
Concordia went 4:15 without scoring before Cooper Holmes tipped in a missed shot.
The Panthers had five turnovers and just one field goal attempt in the first four minutes of the game.
After a free throw by Marcus Gonzalez for Abilene, and a basket by Grant Holmes for Concordia, the Cowboys again made it an eight-point game, 12-4, on a three-point shot by Kaynan Anderson.
Cooper Holmes hit from eight feet, and Concordia trailed 12-6 heading into the second quarter.
The Panthers chipped away at the deficit, and tied the game at 18-18 when Kaleb Pounds scored on a drive.
Gonzalez scored for Abilene, and Cooper Holmes made one of two free throws for Concordia.
Consecutive baskets by Matthew Barlow and Gonzalez gave the Cowboys a 24-19 cushion.
Gabe Bergmann, who was saddled with early foul trouble, scored inside, and the Panthers trailed 24-21 at halftime.
Harms scored the first two points of the second half, but Concordia got three-point baskets by Alan Garcia and Cooper Holmes to grab its first lead, 27-26, with 6:25 to play in the third quarter.
There were five lead changes over the next three minutes, and a three by Cooper Holmes put the Panthers on top 34-32.
Cooper Holmes scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the game.
“In the third quarter we knocked down some shots, but we kept giving them easy opportunities on the offensive end,” Roe said.
Abilene scored six straight points to reclaim the lead at 38-34.
Cooper Holmes knocked down another three, and it was 38-37.
A three-point play by Harms with four seconds to play in the third quarter gave Abilene a 41-37 lead.
Harms scored seven of nine points as the Cowboys opened the final period with a 9-3 spurt to extend the lead to 50-40.
Two free throws by Grant Holmes and consecutive baskets by Joshua Pounds and Bergmann pulled Concordia back within four points, 50-46, with 2:30 left in the game.
Abilene scored the next five points, and led 55-46 when Harms made two free throws with 1:02 remaining.
The Panthers would climb back to within four points, 58-54, when Grant Holmes connected on a three with 14 seconds to play.
Two free throws by Barlow and two by Harms locked up the win for Abilene.
Grant Holmes led the way for Concordia with 18 points. He also had five rebounds.
Bergmann, despite the foul trouble, finished with nine points and six rebounds.
Garcia finished with five assists and two steals.
Keil Kelly scored 12 points for Abilene.
Concordia will host Pike Valley on Tuesday night.
K. Pounds 1-0-2 2, Garcia 1-0-4 3, J. Pounds 2-1-2 5, G. Holmes 7-3-3 18 C. Holmes 6-2-3 17, Bergmann 4-1-4 9. Totals: 21-7-17 54.
Barlow 1-5-3 7, Wilson 1-0-0 2, Anderson 2-0-4 5, Kelly 6-0-1 12, Patrick 2-1-4 5, Gonzalez 3-1-1 7, Barbieri 0-0-1 0, Harms 10-4-3 24.