No. 1 Allegany drops thriller to powerhouse Berlin, 70-68

Jan. 25—CUMBERLAND — For all but three minutes Tuesday night, Allegany was the better team — those three minutes decided the basketball game.

The Campers led Berlin (Pa.) Brothersvalley, which entered with a 14-1 record, for the first 29 minutes and 24 seconds until Craig Jarvis sunk two 3-pointers in two seconds to give the Mountaineers' their first edge with 2:36 remaining.

In a three-minute span, Berlin exploded for a 13-0 flurry behind the hot shooting of Jarvis and Pace Prosser — who combined for 19 points and four 3-pointers in the deciding period.

Allegany made a furious comeback down 68-61 with 1:20 remaining but couldn't get a shot off in the final seconds to fall to Berlin, 70-68.

The loss ended the top-ranked Campers' six-game winning streak.

"Heck of a game," Allegany head coach Tedd Eirich said. "It was what everyone expected it to be. We jumped out and got a lead, and they came back and took the lead. We fought back at the end of the game to have a chance to tie it up or win it, and we just couldn't get the ball in bounds.

"We knew they were going to be the best team we faced all year, and they were well-coached. They were athletic. (Prosser) was just incredible, and they had three or four kids that were really good. We just didn't have an answer for him."

Tuesday marked a clean Berlin sweep over the Cumberland public schools, as the Mountaineers defeated Fort Hill, 66-55, in the Sentinels' opener on Dec. 12 in central Somerset County.

Allegany (13-2) fared better than its crosstown rival, and it even had a chance to win the game in the final seconds.

The Campers looked down for the count late before Isaiah Fields finished off an old-fashioned three-point play, and Caiden Chorpenning scored after a steal to trim Allegany's deficit to 68-66 with 40.3 seconds left.

After the teams traded baskets, Berlin worked a wide-open lay-up out of a timeout that would've given the Mountaineers an insurmountable four-point edge with under 10 seconds left, but the easy look fell off the iron.

Allegany inbounded the ball from under Berlin's hoop with 2.6 seconds remaining with a chance to win or tie the game, but the Campers couldn't get a shot off.

The inbound pass to Chorpenning — the senior finished with a team-high 28 points and added nine boards — was down low and was intercepted as the clock expired.

Isaiah Fields, who finished with a double double at 22 points and 13 rebounds, wasn't available on the final play after picking up his fifth foul with 10 seconds left.

"We were just trying to get some picks across and hopefully get someone open," Eirich said. "We only had two seconds, so we couldn't get too fancy there with some of our inbounds plays because they need a little bit more time to develop.

"We just ran the best play that we thought we had, and it just didn't work."

Allegany nearly tied the game seconds earlier when, with 4.3 seconds left, Chorpenning found a cutting Blake Powell open under the basket, but Berlin — with a foul to give — grabbed Chorpenning before Powell got the shot off.

It wasn't quite how Berlin drew it up, but it worked either way.

"We wanted to foul so they couldn't take the ball out under the hoop, but we didn't foul early enough," Berlin head coach Tanner Prosser said. "At that point, neither one of us had a timeout and it just came down to defending and taking things away. Fortunately we were able to do that."

Allegany made two big runs during the opening half to lead 35-24 going into intermission.

The Campers opened the game up 10-2 and led 16-11 after the opening period. A 12-3 flurry in the second quarter peaked Alco's edge at 32-18 with 1:49 remaining in the opening half.

Chorpenning found success with his back to the basket thanks to good positioning in the low post, scoring 17 points before halftime, and Fields tallied 11 prior to the intermission.

Cayden Bratton was exceptional running the point for the Campers, dishing out a team-high six assists, and three Allegany players had three dimes: Fields, Chazz Imes and David Smith.

But Berlin just refused to go away, led by the steady presence of Pace Prosser, who nearly matched the 37 points he poured in against Fort Hill with a 32-point performance on Tuesday.

Berlin opened the second half on a 7-0 run to get within 35-31. While Allegany continued to execute on offense, the Mountaineers hung around, trailing just 51-47 entering the fourth following a Prosser trey at the buzzer.

"I thought we came out with a lack of emotion in the third quarter, which is unlike us," Eirich said. "We had an 11-point lead and we started allowing them to do exactly what we didn't want them to do, and that was the penetration."

The game's big swing came as the clock dipped below three minutes to play in the decider, when Berlin stole the momentum with a 6-0 swing on one possession.

Jarvis gave Berlin its first lead with a 3-pointer with 2:36 left, and an Allegany foul off the ball counted the bucket and allowed the Mountaineers to retain possession.

Berlin ran Jarvis off a screen and found him open in the other corner on the inbounds pass for a dagger trey that stunned Allegany. The backbreaker appeared to affect Allegany before the Campers mustered their final run.

Jarvis wasn't too far behind Prosser's output with 21 points, and Ryan Blubaugh added 14.

"We struggled in the first half, we didn't shoot well," Tanner Prosser said. "I thought it affected us defensively a little bit. Allegany is a great team. It was a great opportunity for us to be challenged.

"I thought our kids responded in the second half. I still don't think we were great defensively, but that's a credit to how they run stuff. The talented players that they have."

Both teams have championship aspirations, and they showcased why on Tuesday night. The contest could prove to be valuable experience for a future high intensity, close game come playoff time for each side.

Allegany will have some time off before returning to the court to take on Clear Spring on the road on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

"It's a tough loss to swallow," Eirich said. "It was a win that we really wanted to get and we really needed. We're just going to have to shake this off and get ready for our next game."

Alex Rychwalski is a sports reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @arychwal.