Allen junior Joseph Hopper proved to be the perfect secret weapon for the Mustangs during their battle with Alex Thursday afternoon in a Class A Regional loser’s bracket game at Roff.
Hopper scored all nine of his points in the fourth quarter, including seven during a 14-6 Allen surge to start the final period, to help the Mustangs secure a 68-57 victory.
Allen (15-10) advances to the regional tournament at Lindsay tonight where they will meet the Tipton-Elmore City-Pernell loser (in a game played late Thursday night in Chattanooga) at 8 p.m. Alex ends its season at 16-10.
The Mustangs broke a 28-all tie with a 13-5 volley capped by Conner Johnson’s 3-point basket that gave Allen a 41-32 lead.
But Alex responded by scoring six straight points to end the period, trimming the Allen advantage to 41-38 heading into the final eight minutes.
Allen outscored the Longhorns 10-3 to start the fourth quarter. Hopper had his only 3-pointer of the game during that run while senior Logan Dennis scored the final five points via a baseline jumper and a conventional three-point play after catching a long inbounds pass from one end of the court to the other by teammate Cole Young. That big play put the Mustangs on top 51-41 with 5:14 left.
After the Longhorns had cut their deficit to seven, Hopper scored a layup off a nice pass by Dennis and banked in a putback the next trip down the floor to push the Allen lead to 55-44 with 3:18 remaining.
Alex got no closer than nine the rest of the way with Hopper and Dennis hitting two free throws apiece in the final 26.1 seconds to help keep the Longhorns at bay. Allen outscored Alex 27-19 during a high-scoring fourth period.
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