Brandon Allen has a chance at ending his prep basketball career with a historic accomplishment.
The senior point guard has been more focused on helping Haslett put together a memorable season filled with team success.
Allen has made progress toward doing both in the early stages of the season for the 5-1 Vikings, who are tied atop the CAAC Red standings with Waverly entering a tough stretch of games in the next few weeks that starts Tuesday against Williamston.
The 5-foot-9 Allen is again scoring at a high level and is on pace to break Haslett’s career scoring record that was set by 1987 graduate Todd Jenks. But he’s also got plenty of help around him.
“I think it takes off a lot of pressure knowing that you don’t have to score all the time,” Allen said. “In that way, you’re not as aggressive and don’t make as many turnovers and things like that. I think it’s helped me as a player to just be smarter.”
That help has included Darek Wroblak, who was a reliable scorer for the Vikings last year. Luke Sleeper and Connor McCarthy have stepped up this season for Haslett, which has scored more than 80 points three times this season and is averaging 77.8 points.
Haslett coach Chris Smith has noticed the contributions of Sleeper, McCarthy and Jake Tahaney helping Allen boost his game and the Vikings to success.
“He’s been much more efficient and much more patient,” Smith said of Allen. “Probably the amazing thing about it is we’ve played six games now and all six of his games he’s been between 26 and 30 points. It’s almost like it’s been the same game every night.
“His percentages have gone way up, his shot selection is a lot better and he’s just become a really efficient scorer. I think the overall experience and the number of years of playing varsity basketball has made him realize that he can get (points) when he wants to. He’s done a good job of getting everybody else involved.”
Smith hasn’t been surprised with the Vikings’ offensive success this season and figured that would be a case with a veteran-laden group.
“I thought that we were going to be pretty good offensively,” he said. “This group has been a good class all the way through. There’s a lot of good pieces that make a team successful. We’ve got decent length, decent size. We’ve got two guys that can score on the inside with Sleeper and Darek,and then two or three guys that can shoot from the outside like Brandon and Connor. Another junior, Evan Block, is a pretty good shooter as well. It’s just a pretty good balance and pretty good mix.”
As strong as Haslett has been offensively this season, Smith knows Haslett’s fate during its upcoming stretch of tough games will be determined by how well it defends and rebounds.
“The scoring end does not concern me at all,” Smith said. “I think we can score with just about anybody. What’s going to determine our fate is what we do at the other end. An example is that game against East Lansing where we end up losing by nine and gave up 16 offensive rebounds. If we clean up that area, it’s a completely different ball game. That’s been our focus all year.”
Contact Brian Calloway at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.