In a battle between two extremely talented teams, the host Mustangs of Allen used a well-orchestrated defense and balanced scoring attack to keep the potent offense of the visiting Chieftains at bay and come up with an impressive 77-64 win.
The Mustangs had seven players make the scoring column Monday and were led by Jaret Holland, Cole Young and Lane Mills with 23, 19 and 15 points, respectively.
“We played well and played together. I thought we did a great job of moving the ball and finding the open man,” said Allen head coach Greg Mills. “Wetumka is a good ball team, and they are very well-coached. I was proud of our effort tonight.”
Allen — which improved to 14-8 on the year — had just defeated Wetumka 67-49 during the semifinals of last week’s Tri-County Tournament in Shawnee.
Both teams were hot in the first quarter, trading baskets on a very well-played stretch which saw Young and Holland combine for 13 points. But it was Tyler Cruse of Wetumka who had the hot hand, scoring 10 of his game-high 27 points in the first eight minutes and giving the Mustang defense fits. The visiting Chieftains held a 19-17 lead after one quarter of play.
Allen’s pressure defense in the second was centered on keeping the ball out of Cruse’s hands, and it worked, holding him to just four points.
In fact, the Allen defense caused a Wetumka turnover to start the second quarter, and reserve Logan Dennis hit a shot off the glass at the 7:33 mark to tie the game at 19-19. Holland scored two more points with 7:21 showing after the Allen defense caused another Chieftain turnover on a steal by Young, giving Allen its first lead since the early in the first period.
Allen would later extend the lead to six on a 3-point basket by Connor Johnson with 4:56 to go in the half. In the waning minutes of the first half, coach Mills had his troops hold the ball for one final play. Johnson set it in motion with 14 seconds to go, and Lane Mills connected on a beautiful shot from beyond the arc with 6.3 seconds left.