Behind a 3-point barrage that began on the first shot of the game, Allen was able to grab a key 80-61 victory over McKinney Friday to improve to 6-1 in District 9-6A play.
The win is even more impressive when factoring in that Allen played the final 11 minutes without star guard and leading scorer Isaiah Stevens — who sat out the entire fourth quarter due to foul trouble.
Allen got back-to-back 3-pointers from junior guard Thailand Elder and junior forward Bryce Kennedy on its first two possessions and never looked back while winning wire-to-wire.
“It was good to see everyone step up because if the game warranted, we would have definitely brought back Isaiah, but our guys were playing well so we felt we didn’t have to do that,” said Joe McCullough, Allen head coach. “In the big picture, it felt good getting a win in this gym no matter how we got it because we have struggled against McKinney in recent years. Their style of play gives us problems. Ever since the Jesuit loss, our mantra has been to just keep winning games and let things shake out and that’s exactly what we did tonight.”
After making two big 3-pointers in the first half to help Allen to a 36-21 lead at break, Elder made McKinney feel his presence again midway through the third quarter.
This time the athletic junior drained another three-ball and caught an alley-oop off the backboard from rising sophomore guard Manny Obaseki while Allen went on an 11-2 run to stretch its lead to 47-28.
Elder scored 10 of his team-high 16 points in the second half to lead Allen in scoring on the night while grabbing three steals to pave a way for the Eagles to cruise to a big district victory.
“It’s a big deal to get a win against McKinney because we had to come in here and play like it was our last game because this was a big district game for us,” Elder said. “We are motivated to get back to Jesuit with no more losses and look forward to continue working hard to make that happen.”
While Elder was flying high for Allen, McKinney star Byron Schoby couldn’t find the rhythm he’s been in all season long. The sharp-shooting guard missed his first seven shots from the field and first six 3-point attempts on the night after scorching Prosper for 45 points Tuesday.
Though he scored a game-high 17 points on the night, Schoby’s frustrating night mirrored the Lions' entire roster as McKinney could never get into a groove offensively to make a legit push into Allen’s lead in the second half.
“Them hitting their first two threes and Byron’s first two going in-and-out definitely set a tone we didn’t want and allowed them to get very comfortable from behind the 3-point line,” said Wes Watson, McKinney head coach. “We have to flush this game and this week’s results down the toilet and give Plano our full attention. We have to look down while working and playing hard over this next three weeks and I know we are capable of doing that.”
Allen officially put the game away at the end of the third quarter when Obaseki scored seven points and assisted on two more during a 9-0 run to make in 59-39. With Obaseki putting on a one-on-one show while closing the deal, Allen might have gained another consistent option to complement the talented Stevens.
“Next year, Isaiah will be leaving so I was getting a little run as the lead guard, but it feels good to show everyone I can play and help our team out now,” Obaseki said. “Every district game matters.”