Jeff Cali Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
But Hopper and Peay combined to score the first six points of the fourth quarter to push the Allen lead to 37-25 with 6:30 remaining.
Vanoss used two 3-pointers by Blake Cooper and another trey from Dalen Byrd to pull within 39-34 with 1:56 left, but the Wolves would get no closer.
Vanoss actually died by the 3-pointer. The Wolves hit eight of a whopping 36 attempts from beyond the arc and attempted just 12 shots from two-point range. The VHS double post threat of starter Dayton Phillips and reserve Ricky Hall were limited to a combined one point.
“I have a really good team and I have a really bad team, and I never know which one’s going to show up,” Vanoss head coach Jon Hurt said.
Christie and Cooper scored 11 points each to pace the Vanoss offense.
Allen owned a 43-33 rebounding edge, including 10 boards from post player Zane Erickson.
Roff 88, Calvin 40
The Tigers (5-2) bolted to a 19-5 lead to start the game and never really looked back.
Roff led 32-13 early in the second quarter before coasting to a 48-19 halftime advantage. Other notable Roff leads included 63-23 and 88-32 before the Bulldogs managed to score the final eight points.
Roff saw 12 players reach the scoring column and had eight players score at least seven points.
Mike Anderson scored 11 of his team-high 15 points in the first half for the Tigers. Dalton Madden also reached double figures with 11 points, while Zach Lewis was close behind with nine.
Rayce Stephens had eight fourth-quarter points for the Tigers, while Lonnie Peterson also scored eight.
Calvin (0-8) got a game-high 19 points from junior Anthony Harrison, who hit five 3-pointers. Blake Fulton added eight for the host Bulldogs.
Vanoss 47, Calvin 25
The Lady Wolves held Calvin to 1-of-9 shooting from the field in the first quarter to grab an early 12-5 advantage, but they couldn’t shake the Lady Bulldogs, who played VHS even in the second quarter to stay within 19-11 at halftime.
Vanoss led just 21-16 after Calvin's Ashley Gillian hit a 15-foot baseline jumper at the 3:41 mark of the third quarter. The Lady Wolves finally strung together a 10-0 run — highlighted by back-to-back steal and layups within a matter of seconds by Kalli Mowdy – to seize control with a 31-16 lead.
Vanoss led 41-22 after a 3-pointer by Crystal Frederick midway through the fourth quarter.
Mowdy led all scorers with 17 points to go with seven rebounds and six steals. Frederick added 12 points and eight boards, while Summer Hutson followed with nine points.
Calvin got nine points from senior Emily Carter.
Allen 45, Stonewall 41
Allen saw a double-digit lead evaporate, thanks to a fourth-quarter Stonewall comeback that fell just short.
Stonewall had trimmed the Allen advantage to four with less than a minute to go and missed a shot from point-blank range to make it a two-point game.
The Lady Mustangs could have easily put the game out of reach from the free-throw line, but they made just one of 10 fourth-quarter free throws and finished an ugly 8-of-23 from the stripe overall.
“We have to make more of those free throws,” said Allen head coach Jeremy Strong. “We didn’t play very well at the end, but we’ll take the W.”
Sophomore Charlea Leonard had a big game for Allen (2-0) with 21 points, while Kennedy Prentice added eight for the winners.
Strong credited sophomore Kennedy Prentice for helping limit Stonewall star freshman Taylor Barrett to two points on a pair of late free throws. The Lady Longhorns got 16 points from Shania Bills, while Justice Dees also reached double figures with 10 points. Tana Davis chipped in nine for Stonewall.
Allen led 28-16 at halftime before Stonewall (2-5) owned a 25-18 advantage over the final two quarters.
“We played pretty well in the second half, but you can’t beat good teams playing well in one half,” said Stonewall head man Brian Davis.