CUMBERLAND — Travis Bush turned the final hectic seconds into a Big Red celebration, beating the clock with a runner in the lane as time expired to lift fifth-ranked Fort Hill to a 68-66 win over second-ranked Allegany Friday evening.
Bush’s bank shot broke the fourth tie of the quarter and ninth of the game, and put Fort Hill (5-5, 1-1 City, 4-2 AMAC) back on solid footing in both leagues.
The game-winner, which hovered on the rim as the horn sounded, was his first field goal of the night.
Fort Hill coach Thad Burner wasn’t aware of that, but even if he had been he wouldn’t have changed his mind when he drew up the winning play during a timeout with 5.9 seconds left.
“Travis is a senior and he’s been through the rigors and played in a lot of big games,’’ Burner said. “We count on him to make the big plays and baskets. He’s strong and we knew he could get to the rim.”
Jarrett Wolfe scored 22 points, had seven rebounds and two blocked shots and Dalton Gaus had 21 points and four three-point goals for the Sentinels.
Christian Thomas had 17 points, Colton Sivic 12 points and six rebounds, Mario D’Atri 11 points and five assists and Calman McKenzie 10 points for Allegany.
Both teams had starters miss time with foul trouble, and Allegany’s Trenton Eirich, averaging nearly 20 points per game, was sidelined with an injury.
Tied 66-66 after four straight points by Allegany, Fort Hill inbounded the ball to Gaus near halfcourt. He passed to Sidney Carroll, who hit Bush. The 6-foot-2 senior got off a few dribbles before taking a short shot in the lane.
The final play ended a frustrating defensive night for Allegany (7-4, 0-1, 6-1), which was outrebounded by a whopping 41-20.
“Our rebounding was horrible, and our defense just broke down all night. I thought we went for steals too many times,” Allegany coach Tedd Eirich said. “On the final play they got the ball to the basket way too easily.
“One of the keys in the game was rebounding, and we didn’t do it. When you don’t accomplish one of the fundamental keys, you lose. And that’s what happened.”
Fort Hill scored the first six points and led 18-13 midway through the second quarter when Allegany came to life after a three-point shot by Bryce Nightengale.
The Campers’ halfcourt zone press gave Fort Hill fits the rest of the half and game, which allowed Allegany to overcome its huge deficit on the boards. Another three by Nightengale and a jumper by McKenzie gave Alco a 34-31 lead at the half.
Fort Hill answered in the third quarter with big doses of Gaus and Wolfe, who combined for 15 points in a period that featured six lead changes and three ties, including 51-51 after a three-pointer by Gaus in the final seconds.
Wolfe was 6 for 7 from the field in the second half and 8 for 10 for the game. Together, Wolfe and Gaus combined for 43 points and 13 rebounds.
“We did a lot of pick and rolls, and Jarrett got good position and made his shots,’’ said Burner. “We’ve been working hard to make better entry passes, and we did tonight.
“Dalton really stepped up, too. He handled the ball a lot for us and made a lot of big shots.”
Nightengale, on an inbounds pass from Hayden Bosley, gave Allegany its final lead at 62-60 with 3:30 left. Gaus erased it with a three-point shot, and the Sentinels extended it to 66-62 after three Gaus foul shots after a foul and technical on Nightengale with 1:28 left.
But Allegany overcame it, with Sivic scoring on a follow shot and D’Atri tying it 66-all with a shot with eight seconds left.
That set up Bush’s buzzer-beater which gave Fort Hill its third win in four games.
Allegany won the jayvee game 59-42. Darquel Jessie had 28 points and Carson Imes 11 for the Campers. Kris Jackson had 15 and Ty Mance 11 to lead the Sentinels.
Allegany hosts Northern and Fort Hill visits Keyser on Tuesday.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at email@example.com