SNELLVILLE - The Brookwood boys' bid for their second upset of the week faded when Chris Allen emerged in the fourth quarter.
Allen personally outscored the host Broncos 21-20 in the fourth quarter, helping No. 2 seed Meadowcreek escape with a 72-68 come-from-behind victory in the Region 8-AAAAA boys basketball semifinals on Friday night. The Michigan State commitment finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds as the Mustangs rallied from a third-quarter deficit that grew as large as 13 points.
"That boy, in the fourth quarter, was unstoppable," Meadowcreek boys coach Billy Davis said of the high-scoring junior. "He had a lousy game up to that point. But he came over and said, 'Coach, we're not going to lose this ball game.'"
Brookwood, which clinched a state berth earlier in the week by knocking off Parkview, played well again to challenge a team it lost to twice in blowouts this season, the last by 36 points. The Broncos (9-17) led from early in the second quarter until Allen took over midway through the fourth quarter.
Allen was 5 of 18 from the field in the first three quarters, but made 6 of 8 shots and 8 of 10 free throws in the fourth as Meadowcreek advanced to today's 7:30 p.m. final vs. South Gwinnett at Brookwood.
"I told my coaches we weren't losing," Allen said. "I had to stay true to my word."
His team down by six, Allen scored eight straight to put Meadowcreek up 60-58 with 2:49 left. From there it was back and forth and Meadowcreek lost starters Antione Bolden and C.J. Estelle on foul-outs.
Instead of settling for jump shots, Allen took it hard to the basket in the final period and either scored or drew fouls. After Brookwood's Gary Hunter missed two free throws, Allen made two from the line with 43.9 seconds left for a 66-64 edge.
The Broncos had a prime opportunity to tie on the next trip, but Sean Johnson's layup rolled out and Allen was fouled, making two more with 25.6 seconds left. The Mustangs (21-6) finished it off at the line.
Meadowcreek also got 10 points from Bolden and 10 points and five rebounds, all in the second half, from reserve Shawn Bozier. Teondre Williams added seven points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
"I knew it was going to be tough to beat a team for the third time because they know all your tendencies," Davis said. "But I give Brookwood credit. They got after us."
David Pittman and Rashaad Hannah led five Bronco double figure scorers with 14 points each. Russ Kanner added 13 points, Hunter had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Johnson contributed 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
"It's taken us a long time to get playing like we knew we should from Day One," Brookwood boys coach Craig Witmer said. "We've battled a lot of things this year, injuries, football players being out. But we're finally playing like we knew we were capable of from Day One."