Allegany holds off Edgewood, 63-60

March 12, 1994|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to the Sun

COLLEGE PARK -- In the final analysis, there wasn't much separating third-seeded Edgewood from defending state champion Allegany in last night's Class 2A boys state semifinal game at Cole Field House.

About a foot, to be exact.

That's how far guard Alfred McAllister's last-ditch jumper fell short at the buzzer, giving Allegany a 63-60 win and a berth in its 15th state title game.

In tonight's final at 6, the Campers will play No. 2 Dunbar -- ranked 15th in the nation by USA Today -- which beat Potomac in last night's other semifinal.

To win the right to play the Poets, Allegany had to win a hard-fought contest that saw No. 12 Edgewood rally from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter to briefly take the lead in the final two minutes.

"There are no losers here," said Edgewood coach Bob Slagle. "We left everything out on the floor and lost to a very good team."

The Rams (18-4) took their first lead since the opening seconds on Julius Christy's free throw with 2:50 left that gave his team a 57-56 lead.

Moments later, with the game tied at 60-60, Mike Fields (25 points) hit a foul shot to put the Campers up, 61-60.

They extended their lead to three on a put-back by Fields. The Rams came up short on two three-point attempts in the final seconds, as Mike Baldwin caught the front of the rim and McAllister came up short.

The win gave the Campers their school-record 31st win in a row dating to last year. More impressively, they did it without the services of standout guard D.J. Jessie for most of the second half.

Jessie, who entered the game averaging 21.8 points and nine rebounds, went to the bench with his fourth personal with 3:12 left in the third quarter, and didn't return until midway through the fourth. He then fouled out with 1:27 left after scoring 23.

But even without their leader, the Campers kept their composure, holding onto a slim lead much of the way.

"The kids knew what they were supposed to do and did it," said Allegany coach Toby Eirich. "We just stayed calm and ran our set plays. We would not quit."

Jessie said that the experience of last year's overtime win against Hereford in the Class 2A final helped his team down the stretch yesterday.

"Everybody stayed calm," said Jessie. "We've been in this situation before. They knew they had to play team ball."

Late in the game, however, it looked as if Edgewood (17-5) was the team to beat.

Trailing, 55-47, the Rams went on a 12-1 run, capped by McAllister's put-back, to give them a 59-56 lead with 2:15 left.

Edgewood had all the momentum, but Allegany battled back in the end.

"The difference was you've got a winning basketball team in Allegany that got a couple of breaks," said Slagle. "We also made a couple of mistakes that hurt us.

"All I can say to them is that I'm proud."

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