Allen's 53 pushes Highland Park over McKinney

DALLAS -- David Allen sat still at his locker with a big satisfied smile on his face, like he'd just eaten an entire cake by himself, but his Highland Park teammates and coaches couldn't keep still or quiet about the feat he and his team had just accomplished.

In Highland Park's biggest game of the season, Allen played at a level he'd never reached in his career.

Even the scoreboard, which shorted him two of the 53 he finished with, couldn't keep up with Allen's scoring pace in a performance that helped Highland Park outlast McKinney, 87-79, on Friday in a triple-overtime thriller that had as many lead changes and momentum swings as Allen did points.

"I have a man-crush on him," said Highland Park head coach David Piehler. "He's awesome."

The win vaults Highland Park (14-7, 4-1) into first place of District 10-4A by virtue of having beaten previously undefeated McKinney (16-8, 4-1).

"I don't know how that happened," Allen said. "That was unbelievable. That was a lot of fun. That was a blast."

Allen, who averaged just over 10 points per game going in, dominated the game from start until well after the lengthy game was suppose to finish, but despite carrying the team for much of the night, Allen thought he lost the game for Highland Park -- twice.

With the score tied with 2.6 seconds left in the first overtime, Allen missed two free throws. With McKinney leading by two at the end of the second overtime, he missed two again.

But before the second ill-fated attempt in the second overtime even reached the basket, Allen had gotten over his mistake and hurried to the rim, where he collected the rebound and laid a soft layup into the hoop to send the game to a third overtime.

The play transformed Allen's performance from memorable to unforgettable.

"When it left my hands I knew I missed it," Allen said. "I just went to go get and hoped I got lucky, and I did. It was wide open so I just stepped in and got it. It was just lucky."

After falling behind early in each of the first two overtimes, Highland Park seized control of the third overtime with help from Allen. He scored off a pretty pass from point guard Zach Chu to open the frame and went 6-for-6 from the line down the stretch to seal the win.

The game could have been won by either team at numerous points beginning late in the fourth quarter, but countless miraculous turns kept the game from ending.

It began as a sloppy affair with both teams struggling out of the gate, especially McKinney. Highland Park took a 16-9 lead after the first quarter and led 35-30 at the half.

McKinney found its game to open the second half, using a 9-0 run to take its first lead of the game, but the two teams traded the lead and momentum before Allen hit two free throws late in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.

"I don't know how we did it," Piehler said. "I'll have to watch the film. It's two good teams. Unfortunately one had to lose."