CUMBERLAND — Trenton Eirich scored 24 points and Bryce Nightengale had 20 as top-seeded Allegany built a big lead and turned back a spirited Mountain Ridge comeback to win the Class 1A West section championship, 77-64, Tuesday at Campobello.
It was Allegany’s first section title in three years. The Campers (19-5) play for the region championship and a trip to the state tournament on Saturday, at noon, at Hagerstown Community College, against East Section champion Brunswick.
Nightengale, a quick-leaping 6-4 junior, did just about everything against the Miners, finishing with 20 points, 12 rebounds, four steals, four assists, two blocked shots and a dunk.
Colton Sivic also had a double-double with 12 points an 10 rebounds, Christian Thomas added 12 points and seven rebounds and Hayden Bosley had five assists.
Rashawn Johnson had 14 points and five assists for Mountain Ridge (12-11).
Sophomores Colten Winner, Steven Glasbrenner and Kevin Gamble had big games off the bench. Winner had 14 points and six rebounds, Glasbrenner 12 points and Gamble 11 points, eight rebounds and three steals, Branden Markwood finished with six points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.
The top-seeded Campers scored the first seven points, never trailed and led by as many as 22, 45-23, after a Nightengale shot in the lane early in the third quarter.
But while the Campers did little wrong over the first three quarters, they did little right over a four-minute span in the fourth. The second-seeded Miners took full advantage, and with a 27-point fourth quarter nearly erased three quarters of frustration.
After a Johnson three-point shot and a steal by Gamble, the Miners had the ball and were down only six, 69-63, with 1:40 to go.
But the Miners missed a contested shot on a fast break and Eirich cashed in with a three-point play on the other end to stop the Mountain Ridge surge. The Campers went 5 for 6 at the foul line in the final minute to seal it.
“We played great for three quarters, but it’s frustrating that we lost our composure at the end,’’ said Allegany coach Tedd Eirich. “We weren’t boxing off, we threw the ball away, we made some bad decisions ... we just stopped doing what we had done so well for three quarters.
“I thought we adjusted well to the change in the game time and we played hard. But we played like we were in a rush at the end. It’s hard to tell kids to slow down, but we’ve got to learn how to play better with a big lead.”
A game that appeared to be in the bag almost slipped away because of the Miners’ never-quit style. They were down 19-7 after one quarter, 39-23 after two and 57-37 through three.
“One thing we didn’t want to do was get in foul trouble early, and maybe we were a little too laid back in the first half,’’ said Mountain Ridge coach Dave Hobel. “I’ll take responsibility for that.
“The guys really came back and played hard to the end. This has been a fun team to coach because everyone’s worked hard in practice and in games and a different person would step up almost every game for us. You never knew who it would be.”
Tuesday night the rally leader was Winner, who had all 14 of his points in the second half, with nine coming in the fourth quarter. He made all six of his second-half shots.
In the end, Allegany’s powerful play for three quarters left a hole that was just a bit too deep for the Miners to dig their way out of.
Eirich hit three three-point shots in the first quarter and had 11 points in the period. Nightengale’s dunk came after a steal that made it 17-4 with a minute left in the period. It was 26-9 after a Sivic fast break bucket with five minutes left in the half.
Mountain Ridge was 3 for 15 from the floor in the first quarter and 8 for 35 for the half. The Miners finished 23 for 69.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at email@example.com.