TUSHKA – It was a tight one throughout but the 13th ranked Tushka boys survived Allen, 47-45, to finish off a sweep of the hardware in the Class 2A district tournament finals on Saturday night.
It was all Tushka in the opening girls contest with 11th rated Lady Tigers jumping out on Allen early and leaving no doubt in a 74-36 win.
Both teams move on to the regional tournament this week and will face Bryan County Conference rival Caddo in Thursday night’s sub regional play at home.
Tushka won the opening tip, took the lead on a bucket by Jaylee Eaves and never looked back on the way to the victory.
After Sunzie Harrison tied it at 2-2 for Allen, Tushka reeled off the next seven points in only 30 seconds with layups by Alissa Kindred and Eaves sandwiched around an Eaves long ball for a 9-2 lead.
Tushka coach Lori Ford turned on the full-court press and watched her team extend the margin to 22-6, capitalizing on several Lady Mustang miscues for 10 straight points in the process. The Lady Tigers led 24-10 at the end of one.
Kindred opened the second frame with a trey from the top of the key for Tushka, followed by a Taylor Chambers layup before Allen’s Kenzie Nix connected on one of two freebies.
Chambers then nailed a three-pointer and Grace Wall hit a free throw and scored inside for the Lady Tigers for a commanding 35-11 advantage. Tushka carried that 24-point lead (42-18) into the locker room at the half.
The margin continued to swell in the third and the Lady Tigers were up 57-27 going into the final frame as they improved to 24-2 on the season.
Eaves and Chambers had 19 points each to lead a balanced attack for Tushka.
Kindred chipped in 14 points and Grace Wall was also in double figures with a dozen. Ryann Cochran added nine with Adrienne Percell rounding out the scoring with a free throw.
In a game matching teams much closer than their records would indicate it was obvious both teams entered with the intent to win.
Dillon Mansell connected on one of two charity tosses to put Tushka on the board first but Allen quickly took the lead on a jumper inside the lane by Josiah Jenks. The Tigers regained the lead on Connor Sutton trey, but Jenks fired in one of his own to put Allen back on top 5-4 early.
Zach Dill hit a jumper in traffic and Mansell scored on a drive inside for Tushka to make it 8-5, and the Tigers went up 12-6 after Sutton and Marcus Hampton each nailed two free throws. Tadyn Walker canned a three-pointer to bring Allen within 12-9 before Dill was fouled on a putback and connected on the freebie to give Tushka a slim 15-11 lead after one quarter.
Mansell’s bank shot gave the Tigers a 19-15 lead midway through the second quarter but Jenks connected on a long ball and hit a leaner in the lane to give Allen its first lead of the night.
Tushka, now 19-7, went back in front when Mason Brinkley has steal and layup before Dill found the bottom of the net on a trey deep from the right corner to push the lead back to four.
A basket by Dill and a pair of free throws by Mansell gave the Tigers a 28-22 lead with one half down.
The Mustangs drew within 28-26 on Walker’s layup, and each team sank a pair of free throws before Jenks tied it for Allen with a layup of his own. Mansell scored off a back door alley-oop for Tushka, but Hunter Simpson answered right back for Allen.
Sutton drilled a 10-foot jumper, giving Tushka the lead once again, but the Mustangs refused to go away and took their second lead of the night at 35-34 on Jenks’ putback. After Dill sank a pair of freebies the Tigers found themselves facing a 37-36 deficit heading into the fourth period.
Simpson scored inside to open the final frame to give Allen its largest lead of the night at 39-36, but Tushka reeled off 10 straight points with a pivotal run to open up a 46-39 lead with 1:34 on the clock.
Mansell started the run with a three-pointer from the right wing that tied the score before a Dill conventional three-point play put Tushka ahead to stay.
The Mustangs made it interesting however with a layup by Walker, cutting the deficit to only three at 46-43, with under a minute to play. After a missed free throw by Tushka, Allen quickly pushed the ball down the court and Walker silenced the crowd when his baseline jumper dropped through the net, making it 46-45 with 28 seconds remaining in the game.
The Tigers missed another free throw, giving Allen the ball and a chance for the upset, but Tushka fans erupted out of their seats when Brinkley stole the ball and was fouled with only six seconds on the clock. He sank the first of two freebies sealing the win for the Tigers.
“We knew coming in that Allen was much better than their record indicated,” Tushka coach James Pannell said after the game. “They are well coached and have some size and athleticism. But we have a senior-laden group and they know this is their last go. We know it only gets more difficult from here on out.”
Mansell led the Tigers with 16 points while Dill added 15. Sutton chipped in seven points with Brinkley scoring five. Hampton finished it off with four points.