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Allen boys erase double-digit deficit in win over Latta

Feb. 1—LATTA — The Allen Mustangs and their 15-game winning streak appeared to be sunk during their battle with Latta Tuesday night inside the Latta Panther Fieldhouse.

The Mustangs found themselves trailing by double digits in each of the first three quarters. However, Allen engineered an epic comeback in the fourth period to stun Latta 38-35, much to the delight of the visitor's side of the gymnasium.

Coach Greg Mills' team stretched its win streak to 16 games heading into a showdown with Pontotoc Conference foe Stonewall Friday night in Allen. The Mustangs — ranked No. 9 in Class A — will enter that contest at 20-1 with their lone setback of the season at the hands of the Longhorns. Stonewall, No. 6 in Class A, is unbeaten at 22-0.

The Panthers dropped to 9-11 after the gut-wrenching loss heading into a Friday night road trip to Tishomingo.

Allen 38, Latta 35

Latta got off to a blazing start and after Deakon Smith scored on an inbounds play at the 3:33 mark, the Panthers had sped to a 13-2 lead.

LHS post player Hunter Price got free inside for a basket midway through the second period and the Panthers still enjoyed a 20-10 lead.

Allen got within five twice in the second period, but after Reese Littlefield hit a pair of free throws after battling for a rebound with 0.7 on the clock, Latta carried a 27-20 lead into the break.

Sam Brown buried a long 3-pointer with just over four minutes left in the third period to give the Panthers a double-digit advantage at 33-22.

That's when Allen clamped down on defense.

The Mustangs didn't allow another Latta field goal over the final 12 minutes of the game and the only LHS points during that span were a pair of Smith free throws that put the Panthers ahead for the final time 35-33 with 3:15 left in the contest.

Allen freshman Gus Matthews scored in the paint with just over three minutes left to knot the score at 35-all.

Brayden Tatum later got one of his game-high five steals, was fouled, and hit one of two free throws to put Allen ahead 36-35 with 1:57 left.

Easton Ledo hit the second of two free shots following a timeout with 25.5 ticks remaining to make it 37-35.

Another Tatum takeaway led to a free throw from Garrett Nix that gave Allen its final three-point margin.

Brown's long 3-point attempt at the final horn for Latta fell short.

Tatum led all scorers with 13 points and had four rebounds and five steals. Matthews was next with eight points and seven rebounds. Nix followed with seven points, seven rebounds, and four steals and hit Allen's lone 3-pointer of the game.

Deakon Smith had a solid, all-around game for the Panthers. He finished with 11 points, sank 4-of-4 free throws, and had six rebounds and two steals. Brown also scored 11 points for the hosts. Carter Dotson hit a pair of 3-point shots for six points for the Panthers.

Latta finished a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line compared to a 7-of-15 showing by Allen.

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By The Numbers

BOYS

Tuesday, Jan. 30

At Latta

Allen 38, Latta 35

ALLEN 7 13 5 13 — 38

LATTA 15 12 6 2 — 35

ALLEN: Brayden Tatum 5-14, 3-4, 13; Gus Matthews 4-6, 0-2, 8; Garrett Nix 2-7, 2-4, 7; Keithon Howard 2-6, 1-2, 5; Easton Ledo 2-7, 1-3, 5. Totals: 15-41, 7-15, 38.

LATTA: Deakon Smith 3-6, 4-4, 11; Sam Brown 4-13, 2-2, 11; Carter Dotson 2-5, 0-0, 6; Parker Pogue 1-3, 0-0, 3; Reese Littlefield 0-3, 2-2, 2; Hunter Price 1-1, 0-0, 2. Totals: 11-42, 8-8, 35.

Turnovers: Allen 11, Latta 17.

Steals: Allen 12 (Tatum 5, Nix 4); Latta 4.

Rebounds: Allen 30 (Nix 7, Matthews 7); Latta 35 (Littlefield 6, Smith 6).

3-point goals: Allen 1-9 (Nix 1-3); Latta 5-23 (Dotson 2-5, Brown 1-8, Pogue 1-2, Smith 1-2).

Fouled out: None.