Feb. 9—CUMBERLAND — Allegany looked like a team rounding into late-season form Wednesday.
The third-ranked Campers were sharp from the onset, strong with the basketball and physical defensively and down low, and the result was a dominating 71-49 victory over No. 4 Frankfort on Wednesday night.
Allegany enforced its will on the glass, dominating the Falcons, 44-30, in rebounding by generating second-chance points and limiting the opposition to one shot. Zach Michael led the way with a game-high 16 boards.
"Even our guards are good rebounders, but you gotta want to go get rebounds," said Allegany head coach Tedd Eirich, who won his 400th career game with the victory. "We've just been harping on it, go get rebounds, hold them to one shot and push the ball down the court.
"We had to be physical. A lot of teams are physical with us. Frankfort was physical tonight and we had to be physical back to stay in the game."
Allegany improved to 14-3 with the win, matching Fort Hill's record entering the teams' city clash on Friday night at Allegany.
Allegany jumped on Frankfort at the start, racing out to a 20-5 lead after 13 first-quarter points from Isaiah Fields, who finished with a game-high 24 points.
Frankfort (11-6), which saw its eight-game winning streak come to an end, got to within five points at 28-23 with 1:54 to play in the half, but the Campers scored six quick points to lead 34-23 at intermission.
The Falcons got within eight points twice in the third quarter but never closer.
"Allegany is a good basketball team," Frankfort head coach Scott Slider said. "They busted it up and down the floor in both directions. Offensively and defensively, every possession. They play hard all the time. You have to give them credit.
"I felt like we can play like that. I wish we would. We have some ability. We have kids that can give that effort, but they don't all the time."
After Keyser had success against Allegany sitting in a 2-3 zone for four quarters in a 48-38 loss to the Campers last week, Frankfort tried the same defense Wednesday, but the Campers quickly shot them out of it.
Fields hit back-to-back treys from the right wing, and Blake Powell made it three in a row with a make from the other wing.
Allegany had been moving the ball well against zone defenses Eirich said, shots just hadn't been falling.
The result was the quick start that had eluded Allegany, and the Campers made sure they didn't give up their lead by ending the third quarter on an 8-0 run to enter the fourth up 55-39.
"We've had a hard time starting games off, and we've had a hard time coming out in the third quarter," Eirich said. "We did both today. It's that time of year where you can't take quarters off. You can't take five minutes and turn the ball over 10 times.
"Tonight we only had nine turnovers. I think that's our maturity as the year's going on."
Four Campers finished in double figures: Fields, Michael with 11 points, Dylan Shaffer with 11 points and nine rebounds and Dae Dae Smith with 10 points, four assists, four steals and five rebounds.
Jeremy Phillips topped Frankfort with 14 points and Cam Lynch added 13.
Slider said he was happy Frankfort's winning streak was finally over. Wednesday's result might be the wake-up call the Falcons need entering the late-stages of their season.
Being more aggressive on the boards will be a key for Frankfort going forward.
"We had guys standing and watching rebounds instead of going and trying to participate, trying to get a rebound," Slider said. "We're spectating while the ball is being shot. One guy is going to the hole and four guys are standing on the perimeter watching."
The Falcons will try to bounce back when they host Mineral County rival Keyser (6-11) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Allegany has a date with top-ranked Fort Hill (14-3) on Friday at 7 and can be heard on radio station WTBO.
The Sentinels can clinch the Western Maryland Athletic Conference title with a win. They defeated Alco, 68-64, on Jan. 12 in South Cumberland.
Friday will also have significant playoff implications.
Because tournament games don't count towards playoff standing, Fort Hill comes into the game with a playoff record of 14-2, while Allegany is 13-3.
A Fort Hill victory would put it in the driver's seat for the top seed and home-court advantage in the Class 1A West Region I playoffs.
"We're getting better each time we come out," Eirich said. "The kids are understanding the things we need to do to be better. Kids that will receive coaching are going to be the better team at the end of the year, and I'm hoping we're going to see some of that on Friday.
"I know it's going to be a dogfight. It's gonna be a packed house. The team with the least amount of turnovers that makes foul shots is gonna win."
Allegany won the junior varsity game with Frankfort 59-38. Owen Rice (14 points), Sebastian Stewart (11) and Landon Holliday (10) finished in double figures for Alco. Ethan Talley and Kycin Waites notched 12 points each for the Falcons.
Alex Rychwalski is a sports reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @arychwal.