Allison’s 44 points not enough in 2-point loss

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

HOMEWOOD – A depleted Pelham team found itself in a battle with Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in the first round of the Metro Tournament at Homewood High School on Thursday, Dec. 28.

With a few players just not there, the Panthers had just eight total players suited up for the game, which put a lot of pressure on young guys and consistent playmakers Justin Allison and Chris Brown.

Allison took the opportunity and ran with it placing the team on his back by posting a 44-point performance thanks in large part to nine 3-pointers. Unfortunately for he and the Panthers, Hillcrest was able to take advantage of Pelham’s lack of depth as they hung on for a tough 63-61 win.

Allison came out and did exactly what he needed to do in the opening quarter of play knocking down the first points of the game with a 3-pointer.

Hillcrest, however, answered back with a strong offensive presence as they went on a quick 8-0 run over the next 2:49 of play.

The Panthers (6-9) eventually found themselves down 14-7 before responding with a 5-0 run from Allison to get within two points.

Allison went on to have 10 points in the quarter, while Brown added four additional points. That’s all of the scoring Pelham saw in the opening quarter as those two combined for all of the production.

JaLon Johnson, who was on fire for Hillcrest, poured in several three 3-pointers in the opening quarter as the Patriots were able to take a19-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Brown, who hit the last basket of the opening frame, also hit the first basket of the second quarter to make the score 19-16. Allison hit a 3-pointer shortly after to pull the Panthers within one point at 20-19.

Things got quiet over the next few minutes of play, before Hillcrest ended the quarter on a 5-2 run to take a 25-21 lead into the half.

Allison had 13 points and Brown had 8 to accumulate all of the Panthers points in the first half.

Coming out of the half, Pelham was able to get within one thanks to an NBA range 3-pointer from Allison and they stayed within three points for the next few minutes.

That was until Hillcrest went on a 12-3 run to end the quarter and take a 45-33 lead into the final quarter.

With Pelham playing short and the players that were playing exhausted from playing the entire game, a tall task was in front of them to overcome a 12-point deficit, but Allison wasn’t ready to let the team die just yet.

He came out and scored five quick points to bring the Panthers within eight at 46-38.

Hillcrest was able to play with close to a 10-to-12-point lead from the 4:29 mark of the final quarter down to about 2:00 left to play.

This is when Allison really turned up the pressure, hitting free throws, a layup and several 3-pointers as he put up 23 points in the final quarter of play.

His last 3-pointer came with just a few seconds left on the clock to bring Pelham within two points at 63-61.

Head coach Joel Floyd tried to call a timeout with about 1.5 seconds left on the clock, but the official backing down the other end of the court couldn’t hear him in time, which allowed the final second to tick off resulting in the loss.

At several times throughout the game all odds were against Pelham, but several young guys stepped up on both ends of the floor to fight for the team.

Aside from Allison’s incredible performance of 44 points, Pelham got 12 additional points from Brown as those two had 56 of the team’s 61 points.