Trailing the Naylor Lady Eagles 41-38 as the fourth quarter began in the championship game of the Lady Royals Christmas Classic, Dexter went on a 16-1 run to start the quarter. When the final buzzer sounded they had claimed their second-straight championship 64-52.
"That's what our game plan was coming in here was to wear them down," Allen said. "I definitely think we did that because in the fourth quarter you could tell they were tired."
Dexter was sparked in the fourth quarter by junior Kathryn Heil. Sitting on the bench the better part of the first three quarters with foul trouble, Heil scored 13 of her 16 points in the final frame. She also finished with six rebounds.
"We came out really well as a team in the fourth quarter and decided to turn it on and play our game," Heil said. "We actually put a stop to most of the fouling and we came back and started hitting our shots. Things just started going well for us."
After baskets by Taylor and Brooke Thrower and a free throw by Naylor, Dexter led 50-42.
Heil then put the tired Lady Eagles away for good when she made the first of two free throws. Missing the second shot, Heil grabbed her own miss and then hit a 3-pointer while falling backward, giving Dexter a 54-42 lead and essentially ending all Naylor hopes.
"I was just playing," Heil said. "I don't really think about it. I was just going as hard as I could for that loose ball."
"She steps up for us a lot," Allen said of Heil. "She's a great player. I definitely rank her up there as on of the best in southeast Missouri. Not only her, but Ashlee Taylor and Jill Temples, too."
Allen said he warned his team about the Lady Eagles at halftime after seeing Naylor outscore Kelly 38-12 in the second half of their semifinal game Thursday.
"I said 'girls we can't let them do that. That's definitely what they're going to be trying to do,'" Allen said. "Sure enough, they had a run and we ended up cutting it back. I told them at the beginning of the fourth quarter that all year in the fourth quarter we have done better than any team we've went against.
"I was a little nervous coming out after the half," Taylor said. "They had a three and a couple buckets. We were trying to encourage each other as much as we could and we were just doing anything we could to catch back up and get the win."
Naylor (10-1) jumped out to a hot start on Dexter in the first quarter, taking a 9-5 lead but the Lady Bearcats' Jill Temples began to take over the game. Temples finished the first half with 11 points and five steals, sparking Dexter to their halftime lead.
"(Coach Allen) wanted us to penetrate a lot, so that is what I tried to do," said Temples who finished with a team-high 17 points.
Led by Temples ball-hawking, the Lady Bearcats forced Naylor into 30 turnovers on the night.
"Our biggest thing is they put pressure on us and we didn't convert like we should have," said Naylor coach Gene Deckard. "I'm proud of us. We're the smallest school here and we made the game entertaining."
Entertaining the crowd for most of the game was Naylor's Hailee Deckard, who finished with a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds while being double-teamed for most of the game.
"I always heard about Deckard and now that I've seen her play, I see how everybody talks about how she's one of the best in the area," Allen said. "It was tough, even with us sending two at her. She still got around us, she still got to the basket and she still scored our points. She's a great player."
Besides Temples (17) and Heil (16), Dexter was led by Taylor's 14 points and 10 rebounds.
"I'm proud of these girls," Allen said. "They came out and they fought hard. They did exactly what we wanted and I'm proud of them."
Dexter will be off until Jan. 7 when they host Kennett at 6 p.m.