BENCH BOOST: Womack, Mims lead Red Devils to close win

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Sports

November 9, 2016 - 12:00 AM

Allen Community College sophomores Jah-Kobe Womack and DaRon Mims had rocky starts to the season when they were benched for the first two games after playing key roles for last season’s Red Devils. But with the fourth game of the season on the books, both guards are proving their worth off of coach Andy Shaw’s bench.
“Coach told us that we each needed to earn our spot back,” Mims said. “We have a lot of good players this year and we are able to go 10- or 12-deep so we know that we can come off the bench and we rely on our other guards early… We don’t pout about and we just come ready to play.”
Womack and Mims shared the team’s scoring lead with 16 points each in Allen’s 77-74 victory.
“We have to do this, because it is what coach wants,” Womack said. “We come off the bench, but we try to play like we are starters.”
Mims played the fourth-most minutes on the team with 22, but Womack scored his points in just over 16 minutes on the court.
“They both shot the ball well from behind the three-point line,” Shaw said. “It was good to see that in their first game against really good competition. They stepped up and scored the ball for us and sometimes we just need somebody to put the ball in the hole.”
Allen jumped to an early 7-2 lead over the Cardinals with four points from point guard E.J. Garnes and a three-pointer from forward Quentin Blaue.
Labette County fought back and tied the game at 12-12, but three-point baskets from Allen sophomore  Shon Sanders and Mims, followed by a Womack bucket built the lead back up to eight.
The lead ballooned to 36-19 late in the second half after another three from Sanders, who finished with 15 points, and the Red Devils appeared like they would be able to run away with the game.
The Cardinals rallied back before the end of the half, however. Three-straight baskets slashed the margin to 11 points.
Sanders temporary stopped the bleeding with a pair of free throws and Mims hit a three after another Labette County basket.
Labette County ended the half with five straight points to capture the halftime momentum and cut the Allen lead to just nine points.
Two quick Cardinal baskets after the intermission got the lead down to six points.
Sanders slowed the momentum with three points, but Labette County kept coming and they sliced the margin to just three points at 45-42.
A Womack three, followed by two points each from Hafeez Anifowoshe and Mims got the advantage back to 10 points and finally it appeared as though Allen would be pulling away.
Then Garnes picked up his third foul and went to the bench.
Garnes is the conductor of Allen’s new passing oriented offense and with both of his primary backups being freshman, Garnes carries a huge weight on his shoulders this season.
“E.J. will look to find you for a shot before he’ll try and get a bucket for himself,” Womack said. “He is a great point guard and I’m glad we have him.”
Freshman Cordy Winston entered the game for Garnes, and after struggling in his first-half minutes, Winston was able to keep the Allen momentum building.
“(Winston) has been playing well,” Mims said. “He is a great backup and I love playing with both E.J. and Cordy. They both play the point guard role well.”
Winston found Womack for a three to extend the lead to 12 points.
A Mims three made it a 15-point margin and back-to-back baskets by Womack built the lead to 20 points with 8:40 left in the game.
Surely the Red Devils had finally put the Cardinals away.
“It seemed like it was going to be a blowout and the game was going to be over,” Shaw said.
Not so fast.
Labette County rattled off 10-straight points to cut the deficit to 10 with over six minutes left.
“We were really, really good at some points,” Shaw said. “But at some points, we were also really bad.”
A Garnes free throw briefly slowed momentum, but the Cardinals scored six more consecutive points and the margin was five at 64-59 with 4:25 left.
Three points from Garnes followed by a Kyle Hultgren basket gave Allen a ten-point lead again with just over three minutes left.
Another Labette County run cut the margin to  70-67, but then Womack hit his biggest shot of the game.
A three-point basket with 1:07 showing on the clock to extend the lead to 73-67 would have to end it.
But no, Labette County quickly got a basket of their own and it was back down to a four-ppoint game.
Garnes hit a pair of free throws with just 17 seconds left, but again the Cardinals got a basket to get the margin to four points.
Blaue hit one free throw with ten seconds left, but Labette County’s Kevin Mack hit a deep three with three seconds left to get the lead to just two points.
Blaue made one-of-two from the charity stripe with two seconds left to give the Cardinals a chance with a heave, but Mack’s half-court attempt went wayward and Allen escaped with a 77-74 win.
“We needed to see a close game that we win,” Shaw said. “It shouldn’t have been that close though.”
The 3-1 Red Devils will open conference play on Saturday at Coffeyville Community College.

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