Written by Corbett Smith
No. 4 Plano East boys basketball clamp down on Allen to take control of 10-5A
ALLEN — When Plano East coach Jeff Clarkson took the job last March, one of the first things he wanted to establish for his new team was a defensive mindset. With that focus, Clarkson had led Garland Naaman Forest to the 5A semifinals last season.
It looks like Clarkson’s plan is working.
No. 4 in the SportsDayHS 5A rankings, Plano East held Allen to two points in the second quarter and held off a late rally for a 66-54 win on Tuesday.
“Our defense is what we’ve kind of hung our hats on all season,” Clarkson said.
In a battle for the outright lead in 10-5A, East (21-4, 4-0) proved itself the favorite for the district title.
On a night when East guards Marcus Mathieu and Trey Patterson ran into foul trouble, Arlington Grace Prep transfer Pat Birt slid from forward to point guard and looked comfortable doing so. He led all scorers with 21 points, while Santa Clara signee Jarvis Pugh added 11.
Birt is one of five regulars over 6-4, and he said that his team’s height makes them a formidable challenger to anyone in 5A.
“When we play with intensity, we’ve got the length that I think we can play with anybody,” Birt said.
Allen made a 10-4 run at the end of the first quarter to pull within 20-16 but then went cold. A runner off the glass by guard Olin Carter with 32 seconds remaining in the quarter was the only second-quarter points for Allen (11-13, 3-1). Cameron Epps led Allen with 13 points.
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