Danvers High cager Devonn Allen Proving To Be A Super Sophomore Point Guard

His first eight games as the starting point guard for the Danvers High Falcons had drawn mixed reviews. A few games with double figure scoring, a few games with a good batch of assists, a few games with a three-point field goal here and there and most games displaying overall a reliably steady defense.

But if there were any doubts as to whether the 6-foot, 165-pound Allen belonged on the starting five and as a “must” member of the first five come crunch time, all doubt was erased during the Falcons’ heart-stopping 39-37 home court victory over Salem.

All Allen did in the pulsating final quarter was score the Falcons’ final six points on three dynamic drives to the basket beginning from the top of the key, the first a runner off the glass, the other two all-the-way-to-the-glass efforts.

The last basket came with 2:46 remaining for a 39-35 lead. Little did he know at the time that Danvers would not score another point the rest of the way, missing five foul shots over that same time frame, while Salem could only score two points, on a driving layup with 2:30 remaining.

Equally huge for the Falcons were two rebounds Allen hauled in off missed teammate free throws with 19.9 seconds left and again with 11.1 seconds left. Those rebounds, in which he beat to the ball the Salem players who had inside position on the lineup, proved vital in killing time off the clock and forcing Salem to take a long three, which was partially blocked by Vinny Clifford, in the final few seconds.

“Devonn’s made big plays for us all year, many of which got unnoticed or quickly forgotten because they occur while we’re playing defense,” says coach John Walsh. ¬†“But he’s also made big passes, big shots at the offensive end, though none bigger than those five plass he made in pressure time against Salem.”

Allen, no “silly sophomore” he, simply recognized the situation against Salem and waited for the opportunities, then took matters into his own hands.

“If you remember,” Allen said of the frantic fourth quarter with Salem, “Devon (Harris, 16 points) had been carrying us on offense and I felt someone should give him a hand. I got there chane so I decided to go for the basket if I saw the openings. I got a couple, then Devan fouled out and I got another chance to go to the basket.”

Then on the two critical offensive rebounds off missed foul shots in the closing seconds? “Quick footwork and reaction,” he says.

Allen, who went to the Great Oak and Riverside schools before reaching the middle school and high school, has been playing hoops since third grade, when he started in the Hot Shots program in town. It also didn’t hurt his development that his parents both were good players in their own right, his father even making the varsity at Memphis University.

Devonn, the first guard off the bench last winter,  also knows his baseball. He started in center field and third base for the 16-6 varsity baseball team last spring as a freshman.

But basketball is his chief concern at the moment. Pressurized basketball with the team 11-0 heading into tonight’s home game with Saugus, a team that gave the Falcons fits at Saugus for a half.

“These are pressure times, but we were all through it last year, so I think we’re handling it alright,” says Allen.”We can play better; and will have to to keep going like this.”

Allen, only a sophomore, remember, has made significant strides since last season with his ball handling, passing, shooting and defending, but he knows he has a long way to go. “It’s all about working hard every day and trying to improve every day, especially in the games,” Allen says.

“We know what we’re capable of. We just have to keep playing and hopefully raise our games individually and as a team. Because every game is going to get tougher from here. We have to be ready.”

 

 

 

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