Calvin — With a bunch of new faces and only three full practices under his belt, Allen boys coach Greg Mills wasn’t sure how well the Mustangs would fare against Vanoss in the first round of the Pontotoc Conference Tournament Tuesday night.
After his team knocked off the Wolves 43-37 to advance to tonight’s semifinal contest, Mills was feeling pretty good.
“We’re young and inexperienced and haven’t been in the gym very long. I didn’t know what to expect. We missed a lot of easy shots and had some mistakes, but I’m tickled to death with the win,” Mills said.
Things will get much tougher tonight, when Allen battles top-seed Roff at 8:30 pm. Roff rolled past Calvin 88-40.
In first-round girls action on Tuesday, Allen held off Stonewall 45-41 and No. 2 seed Vanoss started off slow before pulling away from host Calvin 47-25.
In girls semifinal action tonight, Vanoss will meet Roff at 4 p.m. and Allen will battle No. 1 seed Asher at 7 p.m.
Allen 43, Vanoss 37
Senior Joseph Hopper, the veteran leader of the Mustangs (2-0), scored 15 points and yanked down 14 rebounds for an impressive double-double, while sophomore Tommy Peay repeatedly knifed his way through the Vanoss defense for a game-high 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field.
A.J. Christie hit a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left before halftime to end a 9-0 Allen second-quarter surge and get the Wolves within 18-14 at the break.
Allen would score the first six points in the third quarter — including Hopper’s only 3-pointer of the game — that pushed the Mustang lead to 24-14.
A Peay free throw at the 1:30 mark of the third gave Allen its biggest lead of the game, 31-18, but Vanoss stuck around and scored seven points in the final 1:18 — including five from Christie — to make it 31-25 heading into the final period.