ALLEN — New Lima head coach Brian Edwards is all about team: the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back, he might say. That was demonstrated to perfection in the Class A Regional winner’s bracket semifinals at Allen Thursday as Edwards’ Falcons dismantled the homestanding Mustangs 80-44.

There’s a logical reason why New Lima entered the battle at 23-2 and a No. 3 ranking in Class A — they’re that good. Their two losses this season were to Wewoka and Oktaha, both ranked in the top 10 in Class 2A and expected to make a run at a state championship.

Allen had the home crowd excited early on. Field goals by Brandon Postoak and Derek Ross put Allen up 4-0 only 50 seconds into the opening period. And when Bubba Stephens connected on a 3-pointer with 5:13 left, the ‘Stangs had their biggest lead of the game, 11-5. But Postoak picked up his third foul seconds later and the Falcons combined smothering defensive pressure (New Lima forced 17 Allen turnovers in an ugly first half), offense both inside and out and just downright hustle and began to take control of the game. Colten Brooksher led a 6-0 Falcon run — fueled by three consecutive Mustang turnovers — during a 53-second stretch and the game was tied at 11-11. After Postoak scored on a fast break and Corby King converted a pair of free throws, Allen led again 15-11 with 2:55 left in the opening quarter.

Then, New Lima displayed the domination that the Seminole County squad’s followers have become accustomed to. Ryan Gibbs and Anthony Scott both connected from long range just before the end of the quarter and suddenly the Falcons were up by five, 24-19. And everything unraveled for an outgunned Allen squad after that.

“We really played well in the opening four minutes of the game,” said Allen head coach Monte Johnson. “But when Brandon (Postoak) got in early foul trouble and had to sit and that really took us out of our game. But that’s not to make excuses, New Lima has an outstanding team, top to bottom.”

Colten Brooksher, whose flashy backcourt mate is his brother Brett, scored 22 first-half points and led New Lima’s 23-7 second-quarter explosion that put the Falcons up 47-26 at intermission.

And it only got uglier and uglier after that.

“They’re an outstanding team,” Johnson said. “They are balanced, athletic and you can’t key on one individual. They have five guys and some on their bench who can hurt you.”

Colten Brooksher, a 5-9 sharpshooting junior guard, led all scorers with 25, while Gibbs, a 6-4 senior jumping jack, chipped in 20, including four connections from beyond the arc.

Postoak, a flashy 5-9 junior guard, the only Mustang to reach double digits, led Allen with 14, eight coming in the opening four minutes of the contest. Stephens, a 5-10 senior guard, contributed seven points, all in the opening period, while King had six points, six rebounds and a steal. Preston Frazier added six points, six rebounds and two blocked shots, and Ross, a 6-foot junior forward, scored five points and hauled down five boards.

New Lima improved to 24-2 and moved into Saturday’s Class A Regional winner’s bracket finals against Boswell at Antlers. A highly anticipated matchup with Roff could be on the horizon for the Falcons and Tigers.

The Mustangs (14-11) are back in action at 8 p.m. tonight against Wright City at Antlers in an elimination game. If Allen wins, they will try to extend their season again Saturday with a spot in next week’s Class A Area Tournament.

Johnson said he didn’t know a lot about the Wright City Lumberjax of the McCurtain County 6 Conference in the southeaster section of the state.

“I do know they have a 6-9 center (junior Collin Converse),” he said. “A big center is always someone you have to be concerned about. I hope our players can put the New Lima game behind them and come out and take care of business against Wright City. We’re capable of it.”

Stephens is the only senior on the Mustangs’ squad.

“We have a good nucleus for next year’s squad,” Johnson said. “But we’re only thinking about Wright City now.”

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