Story & Photo By JONATHAN CZUPRYN/The Iola Register
Coming off of two straight overtime losses, the Allen Community College men's basketball team wanted two simple things when it faced off against Kansas City Kansas Community College on Tuesday at home: Win and do it in regulation. The Red Devils had both of its goals in jeopardy with only 10 seconds left in the contest, but coach Andy Shaw and company were eventually able to hang on for a 72-68 victory that needed just 40 minutes to complete. "Pleased at times," Shaw said. "But there's still some things we have to clean up, especially late-game situations."
The Region VI matchup was a back-and-forth affair throughout the night, but Allen had a 71-65 advantage with just fewer than two minutes remaining. Had the Red Devils (5-2) knocked down all of its free throws down the stretch, the Blue Devils (3-3) probably wouldn't have had an opportunity to make it a one-possession game. But Allen struggled at the charity stripe, finishing just 12 of 28, which helped KCK come within three points late. Still, the Red Devils knocked down just enough to pull out the win.
Quentin Blaue, a freshman guard, was 1-of-2 from the line with fewer than 10 seconds left to give Allen a 72-68 lead that held. "The glaring stat was the free-throws ... 42.9 percent at home is just not very good," Shaw said. "If we shoot our normal percentage, I think we have more of a comfortable lead at the end of that game." But rather than remember their downfalls from their previous two late-game situations over the weekend, the Red Devils hunkered down and made clutch shots when it counted. DaRom Mims led the offensive charge for Allen by scoring a team high 19 points on 9-of- 13 shooting. Blaue, in addition to his key free throw down the stretch, hit two of Allen's four 3-pointers in the game to help keep KCK on its toes on defense. He finished with 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Jermaine Long, who was mostly held in check throughout the first half after hitting his head hard on the floor, recovered after the break to become Allen's leader on the court once again. The sophomore finished with nine points, six boards and nine assists, falling just shy of a double-double. "They're resilient," Shaw said. "I told them as soon as we got back from our trip that we got to put what happened over the weekend behind us because we have another game. We couldn't be pouting over those two losses anymore or it could turn into three losses. They were able to do that. We just stepped up and made enough plays down the stretch." Allen will have a couple days off before heading to Fort Scott on Friday to take on Penn Valley as part of a two day tournament.