Allen scored 15 points, Tori Oliver had 17 and Jasmine Bailey added 16 to lift No. 2 St. John’s to a hard fought 64-60 win over No. 5 Paul VI Catholic in a WCAC showdown in Northwest.
“We always talk about, emphasize offensive rebounding at practice,” Allen said of her key play down the stretch. “Amari [Carter] shot it, and I was like, ‘Okay, I should crash.’”
It was a familiar narrative for Allen, who led the Cadets to a last-second win over the Panthers 10 days ago. On Friday, when she was introduced for senior night, she received a standing ovation, before the announcer was even finished naming off her high school accomplishments.
But Paul VI (25-2, 15-2) had plans to spoil the festivities, and looked set to do so in the first half, building a 28-13 lead late in the second quarter behind silky shooting from junior Ariana Freeman (24 points). St. John’s responded with a 15-0 run to tie the game at halftime and traded the lead back and forth with the Panthers the entire second half.
Even after Allen’s momentous three-point play gave St. John’s a 57-55 lead with about four minutes left, there was still work to do. After Freeman hit a free throw to make it 59-57 several minutes later, Carter came back with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession, and the Panthers tied it at 60 with 1 minute 18 seconds remaining on a Lindsey Oblitey (12 points) free throw.
On the next possession, Allen facilitated a swing around the perimeter to Bailey, who hit a jumper from the left baseline with 55 seconds left — and Paul VI couldn’t get the shot it wanted on the next possession, settling for a rushed jumper that sealed the win for the Cadets.
“We ran out of time,” Freeman said. “I think we played well. We got up, they came back. And then we came back again and it was tied. We just ran out of time.”
It was the regular season finale for Paul VI, while St. John’s will wrap up its slate Sunday at O’Connell before looking ahead to the conference tournament next week. Sunday’s game will conclude a wild week for Allen, one full of accolades with the McDonald’s selection and senior night.
“It’s truly an honor, you know I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, my family, my coaches, everybody,” Allen said. “But you know, we’re not done yet. We still have O’Connell on Sunday, and we still have the playoffs coming up next week.”