McKINNEY - It seemed to be déjà vu all over for McKinney, as the Lionettes jumped out to a double-figure lead on Allen in the first quarter of their District 6-6A showdown on Tuesday.
That’s where the parallels dissipate. Unlike the first-round district matchup, it was Allen not McKinney making big plays down the stretch as the Lady Eagles grabbed a much-needed 51-43 district road victory. The Lady Eagles were able to overcome seven ties and 11 lead changes to get the win, while the Lionettes only shot 23 percent from the field in one of their toughest shooting nights on the season.
Allen and McKinney are now tied for second place in 6-6A with only two games remaining in the regular-season district slate.
“We just talked about coming out and doing our jobs. It’s a long season and sometimes kids get in slumps, but tonight we played like ourselves and came out and out-worked people,” said Teresa Durham, Allen head coach. “We have a lot of depth and don’t need our girls to be superstars but just come out and do their job and they did that tonight. We got two big games against Plano East and Wylie and we will not look over them because when you do that you get beat.”
In a game featuring teams with multiple Division I signees, it was an unsung hero who made the biggest play and impact on the game. With both teams struggling and taking turns turning the ball over on offense, it was Allen senior guard Taylor Dillard who drilled a corner 3-pointer with 3:35 left in the game to give the Lady Eagles a 45-41 lead.
Dillard finished the game with only six points but would get a big steal in the final minute which all but sealed one of the biggest victories of the season for the Lady Eagles. Despite getting overlooked in a game full of stars, it was Dillard who made the most important individual plays on the night for either team down the stretch.
“That shot I hit was a confidence shot because I knew it was a close game and when the ball came off my fingers I knew it was going to go in off the touch of my fingers,” Dillard said. “My defense gets me started and being able to guard and slow down someone as talented as (McKinney sophomore Erin) Fry really got me going, because I could see the effect it was having slowing down their offense.”
Junior Amy Taylor led the Lady Eagles with 14 points, while senior Jada Peacock and sophomore Tyler Jackson added eight apiece in the win.
After scoring seven quick points in the first quarter, McKinney’s Fry tormented Allen and finished with a team-high 14 points. With Dillard guarding her the entire second half, Fry wasn’t able to score a basket from the field over the final two quarters.
In fact, McKinney was only able to score three field goals and 13 points the entire second half in its final home game of the season.
“It is what it is, we didn’t make good decisions,” said Deb Harris, McKinney head coach. “If we would have continued to play defense, I think it would have been a game changer, but when you give up 10 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter you can’t complain about the loss.”
Count McKinney star senior guard Quincy Noble as another member of Lion Nation completely frustrated by the game’s result. The New Mexico signee, who went 3-of-12 from the field for a rare off night on the big stage, is already ready to get back to work.
“It was pretty frustrating not making the shots we usually make or getting the calls, we usually get but we will learn from this tough experience and move on,” she said. “I’m very eager to put up more shots and have good practices so that we can be ready for a team like this in the future that we will see down the road.”