An evening of sparkling debuts filled the Allen Community College gymnasium Tuesday evening.
The ACC Red Devil women, consisting entirely of newcomers, used an early 15-0 run to topple visiting Missouri Baptist University Junior Varsity squad, 72-57.
Meanwhile, the Red Devil men — in Brock McGinniss’s first and only game as head coach — raced to an early 25-3 lead over Oklahoma Wesleyan University’s JV and never looked back in a 93-50 whitewash.
McGinnis is Allen’s head assistant. He slid over into the head coach’s chair when Andy Shaw was ordered to sit out the game because of an obscure recruiting violation involving an assistant coach giving a recruit a ride to the ACC campus. Shaw will return to the sideline Friday against MCC-Penn Valley.
THE ALLEN women spotted Missouri Baptist a quick 2-0 lead before responding with a 15-0 run to take control.
Katelyn Swanson and Jhailyn Johnson both drilled a pair of 3-pointers as the Red Devils raced to a 35-11 lead at one point.
The pace slowed from there, as head coach Todd Buchanan fully expected, while the Red Devil newcomers — all freshmen — adjusted to the college game on the fly.
“Nobody’s going to play the perfect game,” Buchanan said, “and they’re definitely not going to play a perfect game their first game out. But you have to be proud of how those kids played in their first college game ever. We’re going to use the positives and move forward and continue to build confidence. This was definitely a confidence builder for all of us.”
Allen’s lone returning sophomore, Damonica Franklin, had to sit out Tuesday’s opener to complete a two-game suspension tied to an altercation last season against Neosho County Community College.
A balanced scoring attack followed in her absence. Akia Andrews registered team-highs with 15 points and five rebounds. Kamri Summons followed with 13 points and five assists. Kendra Houston was the third player in double figures with 12 points to go with six steals. Swanson and Summons had three steals each.
“I gave Kam our game ball,” Buchanan. “She came off the bench and played big for us tonight. She really grew up. I couldn’t be prouder of her.”
A SIMILAR theme followed for the men’s game.
All 10 players who saw action in the first half scored as the Red Devils raced to a 52-21 lead at the break.
By game’s end, four ACC players were in double figures, and eight players had at least seven points.
“We played with great energy, which was what I wanted to see the most,” McGinnis said. “With a lot of things we’re doing offensively, you’ll see a lot of games like tonight. We have 10 guys who can score.
“Everybody off the bench played very well,” he continued. “I told them when they came into the game, we couldn’t let our energy level drop. If anything, they raised ht ebar a little bit. It was good to see.”
For the record, Allen’s top three scorers, Haleez Anifowoshe (16 points), Beau Shockley (14) and Ahmad Winston (13), all came off the bench. Quentin Blaue followed with 12 points ane eight boards. JaMarkus Dawn dished out six assists. E.J. Garnes had three steals.
The Red Devil squads return home Friday for the inaugural ACC season-opening tournament. Allen’s women will take on Redlands Community College at 5 p.m.; the men host MCC Penn Valley at 7. The tournament wraps up Saturday.