Allen keeps cool as Vikings break through

Allen keeps cool as Vikings break through

LINCOLN – Danville's Vikings got the basketball exactly where coach Gary Tidwell asked for it to go.

"Daveon Allen's a pressure player and we wanted the ball in his hands at the end," Tidwell said.

Allen, a senior guard, made 5 of 7 fourth-quarter free throws – most after Lincoln had pulled within a 41-40 margin – and Danville won its first game of the season Friday, upsetting the Railsplitters 52-47.

"I'm proud of our guys and the way they kept their composure as Lincoln (1-2) was pursuing its comeback," Tidwell said.

"Our guys could have easily folded, but we did an outstanding job and played with lot of confidence.

"This makes you feel better knowing there are two perennial powers coming up the next day."

Danville (1-2) meets unbeaten O'Fallon at 1 p.m. today and East St. Louis at 7 p.m. as Lincoln's six-team round-robin tournament concludes.

Allen scored 12 points. Mikel Brigham led the way with 16 points and Tidwell said, "he did a good job cleaning the glass."

Omar Kelly had 10 points (including three three-pointers) and Collis Lillard also chipped in with 10 points.

"Defensively, we made an adjustment to contest their shooters. The game plan was to come out on their shooters and make them put in on the floor," Tidwell said. "Offensively, we handled their pressure well and had great balance.

"This win was huge."

O'Fallon 86, Centennial 69. The second-best Class AA boys' basketball team in the state last season still hasn't missed a beat.

O'Fallon (3-0), which retained three regulars from last year's IHSA runner-up squad, handed Centennial its first loss in third-round tourney action.

The Chargers (2-1) were within a 36-32 count at halftime.

"We played well in spurts against a team that's experienced," Centennial coach Tim Lavin said. "They shot well and really hurt us on the break.

"We didn't do a good job of getting back and finding guys. Our inexperience showed."

Junior guard James Kinney is the only one of the Chargers' top seven scorers from last year's 18-10 team who has returned.

"We played a pretty good first half and the first couple of minutes of the third quarter," Lavin said. "Then we got down, and got our heads down. They took advantage."

Centennial will play twice today.

Lavin's squad faces East St. Louis at 10 a.m. and Peoria Manual at 5:30 p.m. The Chargers started the same lineup for the third consecutive game, but Lavin is still in the process of evaluating his players.

"I'm trying to figure out who goes where and with whom," Lavin said.

O'Fallon only needs to win one of today's two games to secure the tournament championship.

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