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No. 2 Fort Hill hands No. 1 Allegany its first loss of the season

Jan. 13—CUMBERLAND — In a matchup between bitter rivals and the area's top two ranked teams, No. 2 Fort Hill emerged victorious on Friday in South Cumberland, defeating No. 1 Allegany 68-64.

"I thought we were able to keep our composure at times we got down," Fort Hill head coach Thad Burner said. "We went down nine, to battle back, we recovered with some adversity there."

In front of a nearly sold out gym, the Sentinels (6-2, 3-0 Western Maryland Athletic Conference) came up clutch in the second half on both ends.

"We got outplayed in every part of the game," Allegany head coach Tedd Eirich said. "We reverted back to doing all the things that you can do to lose a game. We played silly defense, we committed terrible turnovers."

Leading 30-28 at halftime, the Campers (9-1, 3-1 WestMAC) opened the third quarter on a 10-3 run.

A steal and a pair of free throws by Dae Dae Smith extended Allegany's lead to 40-31 with 4:34 left in the quarter.

Smith scored 14 points with two assists, a steal and a block.

Fort Hill responded with a 12-1 run led by Liam Hamilton. He recorded five points, two assists and two steals.

"I thought offensively, we moved the ball a lot better," Burner said. "We started down screening a lot better. Made some good passes, that was the key in that stretch."

Hamilton recorded eight points, five steals and five assists in the game.

After a steal by Steven Spencer, Hamilton finished a put back to give the Sentinels a 43-41 lead with 1:09 remaining in the third.

"Too many times we had balls just ripped out of our hands," Eirich said. "We were just soft tonight. Fort Hill was tougher than us."

Blake Powell set up Smith for a 3-pointer to retake the lead for Allegany.

Gavin Carney retook the lead for Fort Hill on a layup with 26 seconds left.

Carney finished with 11 points, two assists, a block and a steal.

Powell assisted Zach Michael on a jumper to give the Campers a 47-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Early in the fourth, the Campers were called for a shot clock violation. The Sentinels took advantage as Hamilton set up Deshaun Brown for a layup to retake the lead at 50-49 with 5:38 to go.

Fort Hill then went on an 8-2 run capped off by a Jabril Daniels layup. After a steal by Brown, Hamilton set up Daniels to go up 58-51 with 3:44 left.

"The kids wanted to continue putting ball pressure on them," Burner said. "We did a nice job turning them over down the stretch."

Gamil Daniels banked in a jumper off a Brown assist to extend the Sentinel lead to 64-54 with 2:01 remaining.

Allegany cut it to 64-60 led by Blake Powell with back-to-back steals and an assist to Isaiah Fields on a jumper with 1:32 left to make it a four-point game.

Fields ended with 13 points and four assists.

Gamil Daniels responded, finishing a layup off a Brown assist to push Fort Hill's lead to 66-60 with 31 seconds left, forcing the Campers to start fouling.

Daniels finished with 11 points, seven assists and a steal.

Allegany made several miscues in the second half as several passes were inaccurate and landed directly out of bounds.

"We've always been pretty successful breaking any press," Eirich said. "Today, we just looked like we'd never done it in our lives."

Allegany finished with 21 turnovers compared to 12 by Fort Hill.

Fort Hill forced nine steals in the second half, finishing with 16.

"It was huge because we couldn't make a shot," Burner said of the steals. "Eventually, if you get some steals then hopefully you get some transition. We were able to do that, it kind of masked some of the shooting problems."

The Sentinels only made 1 of 10 shots from 3-point range in the first half and went 12 of 29 overall (41%).

The Campers opened the game on a 10-3 run in the first quarter led by Michael.

He scored Allegany's first eight points of the game and assisted Fields on a layup to go up 10-3.

Michael led all scorers with 22 points, scoring at least four in every quarter.

"We thought Zach would have a good game down low," Eirich said. "They started doubling him, he did a good job for the most part finding open guys."

The Sentinels responded with an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 12-11.

"We came down for maybe the whole first quarter and we did not run an offense," Eirich said. "We did not get a ball rotation, we did not get the ball in the spots we wanted to get them. We were sorta coming down going one on one or making bad decisions, taking bad shots."

Fort Hill forced five steals in the first quarter. Gamil Daniels recorded a steal and set up Landon Sensabaugh for an and-one layup to make it a one-point game.

Sensabaugh ended the night with 10 points and two steals.

Allegany led 13-11 after one quarter. The second quarter was hectic with six lead changes and five ties.

From the 7:09 mark to 4:12 of the quarter, each possession either resulted in a team taking the lead or tying the game.

"It was two good basketball teams just battling for possession," Burner said. "We got down a few times by seven or eight points. But hats off to all the kids on the bench, they were enthusiastic and stayed in the game mentally."

Spencer led the Sentinels with seven points in the quarter.

He finished as Fort Hill's leading scorer with 14 points, adding four steals and three assists.

"I thought he did a nice job keeping his composure," Burner said. "When Deshaun went down in the first, Steven was able to keep his composure, keep some of those younger guys involved. That's what you expect out of a senior."

Smith scored seven points for Allegany in the quarter while Michael scored six. Smith made all four of his free throws.

Dylan Shaffer scored an and-one put back to put the Campers up 25-23 with 4:12 left.

Allegany held the lead the remainder of the half, but a step back 3-pointer by Spencer cut the Sentinels' halftime deficit to 30-28.

The Sentinels also won the junior varsity game, 50-41. Sam Spencer led Fort Hill with 20 points and Jacob Bone scored 11. Chris Manherz led all scorers with 22 points for the Campers. Alex Springs added 10 points.

Both teams play on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Allegany hosts Mountain Ridge while Fort Hill heads to Boonsboro.

"It better be a wake-up call," Eirich said of Allegany's first loss. "We thought we were gonna come in here and win this game. We obviously fell very well short of expectations. We're disappointed about this loss. You can either pull yourself out of your boot straps and get better, or you can lay down and lose."

Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Email him with scores and story suggestions at jkendall@times-news.com.