Eleven Minutes of Hell: Jesuit's second-half surge sinks Allen
PLANO -- With 2:45 remaining in the third quarter of Tuesday's bi-district tilt against Jesuit, Allen junior Myron Fisher sunk a pair of free throws to put the Allen boys basketball team up, 25-24.
With that make, so ended the highlights of the Eagles' latest run through the postseason, as the Rangers erupted over final 11 minutes of the game to take a 53-40 victory at Plano West.
"[Jesuit] made plays," said Jeff McCullough, Allen head coach. "I didn't think we did a very good job of preparing and I think that was apparent. We knew what they were going to do and we knew what we needed to do, but they executed what they could do and we didn't."
Fisher's free throws equated just the third lead of the night. However, it would be the last for Allen, as Jesuit countered with a fadeaway by senior Steven Spieth to put the Rangers in front, 26-25.
Jesuit didn't look back, ending the quarter with five more points from Spieth, including a 3-pointer following a frenetic exchange under the rim that sent the Rangers' boisterous student section into a tizzy for a 31-25 lead after three quarters.
That six-point advantage may as well have been a 26-point cushion for the Rangers, as the Eagles went nearly nine minutes without a make from the field in the second half.
"We knew they were going to back off and force us to make shots," McCullough said. "We weren't very aggressive and we allowed them to win the foul count. When you do those things, you're going to get beat."
During that shooting slump, the Rangers outscored Allen, 20-6. Spieth scored nine of his 11 points in the second half, while junior Brocke Stepteau and senior Bryan Stankey also posted 11 in the win.
Allen junior Jackie Davis at last halted the Rangers' surge by converting an and-one on a baseline layup with 4:48 left in the fourth quarter. The damage had been done though, as Jesuit played the Eagles even the rest of the way to seal the win.
Shot selection wasn't in Allen's favor either, with the team relying more and more on isolation ball as the Rangers' lead widened.
"[Jesuit] got ahead, controlled the game and made us do things we necessarily didn't want to do," McCullough said. "We had our opportunities in the first half but they executed and we didn't."
That they did, as the Eagles led for the first 21 minutes of the game. Sophomore Bobby Evans opened the night with an and-one on a putback for a 3-0 lead and junior Jamuni McNease punctuated the frame with a putback of his own for an 11-6 Allen lead after one quarter.
The Rangers reversed the tide with a 10-6 advantage in the second stanza though, using pinpoint ball movement and seven points by Michael McReynolds to pull within one at 17-16 at halftime.
McNease, who scored six points and grabbed 11 boards, opened the third quarter by throwing down an alley-oop from senior Cameron Epps, who had six points in the loss.
Baskets by McNease and sophomore Olin Carter followed before the Eagles went cold from the field and made just six shots over the final 11 minutes of the game. By contrast, Jesuit sunk 13.
Fisher led the Eagles with 10 points, including six in the fourth quarter as Allen was able to trim Jesuit's lead to 44-35 before bonus free throws and bullish rebounding by senior J.D. Waggoner allowed the Rangers to keep the Eagles at bay.
And as such, Allen still remains in search of its first Class 5A playoff win -- a task that will have to wait until next season.
"I'm disappointed in how we performed," McCullough said. "Going into the game, I feel like we should have won and I still feel that way. It was a nice atmosphere but unfortunately we just didn't do the things needed to win."