SPRINGFIELD — The early 8-point hole in Tuesday night’s Division 2 state semifinal got Concord-Carlisle senior Jamir Henderson’s attention.
The Patriots needed to be aggressive, and Henderson knew he had to be the guy.
Henderson and Co. kicked up the defensive intensity and attacked the rim, erasing the hole and holding on to top Longmeadow, 65-55, at Springfield Central High School.
The Patriots (22-2) will face New Mission in the Division 2 state final Saturday at 4 p.m. at the DCU Center in Worcester.
Henderson finished with 13 points, and constantly attacked the rim, particularly in the second half.
“I realized the team goes as I go,” Henderson said. “Whether I score a lot or pass it up, I just have to be more aggressive. I have to play with more intensity and more heart.”
Longmeadow (20-3) started off red-hot from the field, jumping out to an 8-0 lead in the first three minutes. Concord-Carlisle coach David Cohen burned a timeout and the Patriots responded with increased intensity on defense and contested jump shots.
The Patriots regained control with a 19-6 run to put them ahead for good.
It was a 5-point game with 1:01 left to play in the fourth quarter when the Patriots came up with the shot of the game. As the shot clock wound down under five seconds, Henderson received a pass on the right wing and swung it to the top of the key, where senior Joseph Cowley made the extra pass to senior Jonathan Dor for a triple. The bucket was Concord-Carlisle’s only 3-pointer of the game and pushed its lead to 8.
Dor finished with a game-high 22 points.
The Patriots led by 12 late in the third quarter when the Lancers closed the frame with a 6-0 run, thanks to a pair of layups from Christopher King.
Michael Lemke and Daniel Kofman led the Lancers with 17 points each and King finished with 11.
Blaine Taylor tallied 16 points for Concord-Carlisle.