Eagle eyed: Allen's hot shooting sinks Lady Panthers
Plano East girls basketball head coach LaGwenna Morrow would have preferred the team's District 10-5A opener be delayed a week so her Lady Panthers could get healthy.
East had to play with the hand it was dealt Friday night against Allen though, and the result was a long-range shooting exhibition by the Lady Eagles that paced a 54-44 victory.
"We still played down in numbers tonight but of the girls who played," Morrow said, "I thought it was a very valiant effort on their part. I'm very proud of them ... I have to give credit to Allen because they have some great outside shooting."
A fearless shooting squad by trade, Allen made its intentions known from the opening tip by burying two 3-pointers before the Lady Panthers could so much as blink.
"Immediately, we looked up and it was 8-0 two minutes in," Morrow said. "I think we got down on ourselves as a team ... Allen was hot though, especially in the first half."
The efficient shooting carried on for the remainder of the half, with East staring at a 32-22 deficit halftime. That margin was made a bit more manageable in the second quarter where the Lady Panthers were only outscored, 16-15, after being limited to just seven points in the opening quarter.
Any momentum built up by the strong second stanza withered away in the third though, with Allen outscoring East, 14-6, to open up a 46-28 lead.
Offensively, senior Jordan Welch cleaned up down low for the Lady Panthers by scoring a game-high 16 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman Daria McCutcheon and Natalie Valdez each added nine points in the loss.
"A lot of those points were [Welch's] rebound putbacks," Morrow said. "She also had two and-1's and was just overall really aggressive on the offensive end."
The Lady Eagles were aided by 16 points from senior Kelsey Paul and 11 from senior Kaitlyn Packett as Allen won its first district opener since the 2008-09 season. Ironically enough, that victory also came against East.
Allen looks to improve on that mark Tuesday when it hosts Plano West at 7:30 p.m. while the Lady Panthers host McKinney at the same time. They'll hope to do so with the potential returns of seniors Jasmine Caston, Letty Bornstad and sophomore Doneesha Corbin, who all missed Friday's loss due to injury.
"We had better intensity than I saw from our tournament in Mansfield," Morrow said. "We had the same girls then and I saw a lot more intensity tonight and some of that from players who I didn't even know had it in them. They dug deep but fell short tonight."
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