Allison’s double-double carries Panthers past Griffin


Shelby Foster

Senior Nate Allison tosses the ball in the air. Allison, who was recently named to the Region 3-AAAAA All-Region second team, finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the Mill’s 45-41 win over Griffin.

Rilee Stapleton, Editor-in-Chief

The House at Griffin High School is this year’s host of the Region 3-AAAAA tournament, and the Bears gave Starr’s Mill a run for their money in an exciting first round matchup. The Panther defense locked down in the fourth quarter, as senior Nate Allison led a late comeback that clinched a state playoff spot for the Mill.

“This is always the hardest game of the year,” head coach Charlemagne Gibbons said. “[Griffin] knows if they win, they go to state. Our team knows if we win, we go to state.”

Shelby Foster
Senior Julian Lynch shoots a floater over two Griffin defenders. Lynch brought great energy off of the bench, and finished the game with five points and six rebounds. The win clinched a state playoff spot for Starr’s Mill.

Allison recorded 18 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks in the 45-41 win over Griffin. Junior Jamaine Mann struggled from the field, shooting 3 of 10, but still totaled 10 points, seven rebounds, and one blocked shot. Junior guard Daryl Rice added seven points, two assists, and one crucial steal late in the fourth quarter. The Mill played stellar defense in the last four minutes of the game and managed to overcome a 38-31 deficit in the fourth quarter.

Griffin had a dominant second half, mostly led by senior point guard Jacarlin Dennis. He hit multiple jumpshots and led the Bear offense all night. However, turnovers late in the game cost Griffin a trip to the state playoffs.

“It started flowing at the end of the game,” Allison said. “We didn’t have a lot of rhythm, but we brought some subs in and they had a lot of energy.”

In the first quarter, the Panthers got out to an early lead after a three-pointer from Rice and a few layups. Griffin slowly battled back and managed to keep the game close. After one quarter, Starr’s Mill led 11-7.

The second quarter was fairly low scoring, as through the first five minutes of the quarter only five points had been scored. The Mill led 16-7 before a late rally in the second quarter from Griffin. Shots started falling for the Bears and when the buzzer went off signaling halftime they were only down three, 17-14.

“I would’ve loved for us to play a little better,” Gibbons said. “You win and survive. That’s the name of the game right now.”

Griffin took over in the third quarter, using a 10-2 run to take a 24-19 lead early in the period. Starr’s Mill continuously turned the ball over, and the Bears dominated the glass. The Bears scored 21 points in the quarter, leading 35-30 after the 8-minute frame.

Griffins run continued in the beginning in the fourth quarter, their largest lead being 38-31. Mann and Allison then took over, working the low post and making close shots at the rim. Both forwards found themselves frequently at the free throw line, and before long, the score was 41-38, in Griffin’s favor.

The Panthers played with great energy on the defensive end, and the Bears couldn’t come up with any points. Allison and Junior Wesley Grant scored the final few points for the Mill, and they secured a state playoff spot with a 45-41 win over Griffin.

“Defense turned the game around,” Rice said. “We gotta make more shots but we’re fine on the defensive end.”

Their second round matchup is with the No. 2 seed Jonesboro Cardinals. Jonesboro defeated Riverdale in their first round matchup, and they also beat Starr’s Mill in both regular season matchups. The third duel between the teams is at 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 7. The contest takes place at The House in Griffin High School.

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