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Highland Park edges McKinney in nail-biter

McKINNEY, Texas -- Highland Park and McKinney have a habit of battling each other to the final buzzer, and the Scots have a habit of ultimately coming out on the winning end.

Friday was no exception.

The Scots needed a stop on the last play of the game to escape with a 62-61 win at McKinney High School in what was the third straight nail-biter between the District 10-4A rivals, dating back to last year.

The victory breaks a tie atop the 10-4A standings, leaving Highland Park (18-2, 5-0) in sole possession of first place.

"They bring out the best in us, we bring out the best in them," said Highland Park coach David Piehler. "They played three overtime games in a row and it looked like it was going to be a fourth."

McKinney (13-8, 4-1) trailed by as many as seven in the fourth quarter but chipped away at the Scots' lead down the stretch, and Jonathan Shannon, who finished with 19 points, hit a 3-pointer with less than a minute remaining to cut Highland Park's lead to one.

On the ensuing possession, AJ Moutry ran Scots guard David Allen out of bounds, giving McKinney one last chance. With 7 seconds remaining in the game, Shannon drove the lane but didn't get a good shot off in the paint thanks to three Highland Park defenders.

"I saw him get to the paint and having a shot and I thought 'uh oh'," Piehler said. "But it fell short, we got the rebound and the buzzer went off. Our guys didn't quit."

The game pitted two of the area's hottest scorers -- Allen and Moutry -- against each other, but solid defense on both sides kept the two guards from their season averages, both of which are more than 25 points per game.

Moutry finished with just 20 points, a far cry from his recent totals of 42 and 54. Highland Park added a box 1 formation to its usual 1-3-1 defense in hopes of limiting Moutry's impact.

"We had a whole week of practice trying to work to stop him [Moutry]," Allen said. "We shaded his side the whole time to deny him the ball as much as we could."

Allen finished with 23 but showed glimpses of what's turned him into one of the most feared scorers in the area -- his 3-point shooting. The senior spent the offseason refining his outside shooting in hopes of adding another weapon to compliment his ability to drive to the basket.

He hit four 3-pointers, most of which came early in the game when Highland Park was struggling to keep up with the run-and-gun Lions.

"That was kinda my one area where I wasn't very good last year," Allen said. "This year it's kind of a strong suit. It's really helped me."

The Scots trailed for much of the first half before closing the second quarter with a 12-2 run that gave them a 34-29 halftime lead.

McKinney played from behind for most of the second half, but briefly tied it at 50 late in the third before making its final push in the waning seconds.

"I still don't know how we won, but we'll take it," Piehler said.