Allison, Brown have strong showing in Metro tourney
By SETH HAGAN | For the Reporter and ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor
HOMEWOOD – Justin Allison and Chris Brown may like Homewood High School’s gym a little more after the Metro Tournament came to an end on Saturday, Dec. 30.
The dynamic duo combined to score 103 points in the Panther’s first two games of the 2017 Metro Tournament, and they scored 44 of their team’s final 50 in a second-round matchup against rival Thompson (1-11) as they denied the Warriors their first win of the season, 61-53 on Friday Dec. 29.
Despite Allison and Brown’s white hot start to the tournament, they found things difficult in the first quarter as Thompson used a full court press to slow things down.
Pelham was flustered and turned the ball over seven times in the opening period while the Warriors held Allison to just two free throws and Brown didn’t record a point.
Thompson lead by as many as 12 and held a 21-11 advantage after one.
While the offense struggled from the start, Pelham head coach Joel Floyd was more concerned about the team’s performance on the other side of the ball.
“I talked about defense because 21 points in a quarter is really bad defense for us,” Floyd said. “We’re trying to keep a team in the 40s for the game and give up half that to begin with so it was a lot about defense for us.”
From then on the team played a much more aggressive style on both ends of the court. And most important of all, Floyd got his two star scorers back in the game.
The Panthers went on a 14-4 run to draw within two points and the teams traded baskets for the remainder of the half. Allison and Brown combined for 21 of the team’s 23 points in the second quarter as they attacked the basket relentlessly after a timid opening.
Allison, who can score from long range or by driving to the basket, began to drive to the hoop again and again either finishing in the paint or finding Brown for an assist.
The Panthers still faced a three-point deficit at the half, but continued to maintain that energy for the final quarters.
Pelham opened the third quarter with a 9-2 run to take its first lead of the game.
Thompson battled back to take the lead again 46-45, but it was the last lead they held.
The Panthers scored the final six points of the quarter as Allison and Brown scored all 15 of the team’s points. Floyd’s defense answered the call in the second half and held the Warriors to just five field goals after halftime.
The offense took the methodical approach, baiting a young Thompson team into foul trouble for much of the final minutes. The Panthers took advantage hitting 15 of their last 16 free throws to seal the game.
“Yesterday we lost by two and we probably missed five free throws in the fourth quarter,” said Floyd. “And maybe we win maybe we don’t yesterday if we make those free throws, but we talked a lot about that, you can’t give away those easy ones.”
Justin Allison was especially prolific from the charity stripe scoring 18 of his team-high 32 from there.
“Justin decided after the first quarter he was going to put the team on his back and he was going to make it happen,” Floyd said. “He’s a senior that’s been through a lot of battles and he wasn’t going to watch us go down in this game without a battle.”
Thompson started three freshmen in the game, but were encouraged to see senior Roy’El Everson find his touch with 19 points. Freshman J.B. Mitchell also chipped in 10 points for the Warriors.
In the final game of the tournament, which was the loser’s bracket championship game, Pelham squared off against host team Homewood and dropped a 59-47 decision.
Allison and Brown continued their hot play, combining for 33 points to bring their tournament total to 136 in three games.
Allison finished the final game with 21 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals to bring his tourney total to a staggering 97 points. Brown had a double-double performance with 12 points and 10 rebounds to close out the tournament.
Pelham now sits at 6-10 on the season, but will look to start clicking win it matters as area play is just around the corner.