Lady Eagles' mid-quarter momentum muddies Hebron
The Allen girls basketball team was held to single digits during three of four quarters in Tuesday's matchup against Hebron.
The Lady Eagles were also outscored during two of those quarters, yet enjoyed a double-digit lead for the bulk of the second half en route to a 51-36 victory.
"In the first half, we tried to play to their tempo too much and it slowed us down," said Sean Weibling, Allen head coach. "But if you don't make your shots, you can't press and we got a bit more of that in the second half."
While the first and fourth quarters favored Hebron on the scoreboard, 22-18, the Lady Eagles secured their second District 8-5A victory by bludgeoning the Lady Hawks in the middle frames, 33-14.
Each quarter offered something different, with Allen's offense swelling a 17-12 lead at halftime into a 42-26 edge after three quarters.
Faced with a zone defense for several portions of the game, the Lady Hawks essentially dared Allen to beat them with shooting. In dropping 25 points in the third quarter, the Lady Eagles more than acquiesced.
Despite not having a field goal to her name in the second half, sophomore Anna Horowitz commandeered the charge by setting up teammates for open looks aplenty.
Horowitz-laced skip passes keyed a corner jumper by junior Rachel Piles and a follow-up 3-pointer by freshman Kayla Bise to give Allen its first double-digit edge of the night at 30-20 with 3:16 left in the third quarter.
"We've been getting better at [three-point shooting]," Weibling said. "With that, the biggest thing is making sure we have options and not shooting too quick against a zone."
An and-1 by Rayvon Christian, who led the Lady Hawks with 10 points and seven rebounds, pulled Hebron back to within single figures at 33-26 but with 2:30 left in the third frame, would mark the Lady Hawks' final points of the quarter as Allen outscored Hebron, 9-0, the rest of the way.
Another 3-pointer by Bise, whose bench scoring led Allen with 13 points on three 3-pointers, and a lay-in by sophomore Ericka May equated the Lady Eagles' 42-26 cushion after three quarters.
While Allen's third stanza was headlined by offense, the Lady Eagles' defense paced a second quarter that left Hebron scoreless.
"The biggest thing was second-chance points," Weibling said. "We didn't do a very good job of blocking out and their whole objective was to take their time and find a good shot, so we end up playing defense for 45-50 seconds. We had to make sure we rebounded well to go out and push the ball."
Three-balls by Horowitz, who tallied eight points and three assists, and Bise helped pace Allen's eight points in the second quarter while all the Lady Hawks had to show for said quarter were a pair of rebounds and five turnovers.
"It's hard to say," said Stacy McDonald, Hebron head coach. "We had to move people in and out, and the subs that were put in those positions were better defenders and I'm sure that maybe had something to do with our offensive production. We were getting open looks, but just couldn't hit."
The Lady Hawks' offensive lull was all the more confounding as the team had closed out the first quarter on a 6-0 run to claim a 12-9 lead after one frame.
Following a Horowitz 3-pointer on a press break, Hebron countered with a 3-pointer by Alyneisha Bowie followed by a lay-in by Christian to secure the lead by quarter's end.
"We were able to switch in and out," McDonald said. "We were running man and then we started pressing intermittently, which worked a couple times ... I thought early on, the team came out to execute and get after it."
The Lady Eagles would regain the lead at the second quarter's 5:30 mark following a lay-in by senior April Kindle.
Allen wouldn't look back, stretching its lead to as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter at 48-28 after a 3-pointer by Piles, who tallied seven points, nine boards and three blocks.
Hebron managed to shed a few layers off that deficit behind nine points from freshman Molly Pospichal, who accounted for six of the Lady Hawks' 10 fourth-quarter points.
"It's tough but I try to keep remembering that we're still rebuilding," McDonald said. "It may be a season of high turnovers but as long as these girls keep working their butts off, those will come down over time."
The Lady Hawks continue their search for a district victory, with a 6 p.m. tilt at Flower Mound Marcus on the horizon. During that time, Allen will host Flower Mound.