Jan. 26—BERLIN, Pa. — Allegany knew exactly what to expect from Berlin on Thursday, but there was one variable the Campers weren't prepared for.
It was a given that the high scoring duo of Pace Prosser and Craig Jarvis would likely have big nights for Berlin, and that the Mountaineers, last year's PIAA 1A state runner-up, would play their trademark up-tempo, run-and-gun style and force turnover-prone Allegany into mistakes.
What Allegany didn't predict, however, is how physical the game was officiated, neutralizing its ability to score at the basket. By the time the Campers recovered after a disastrous second quarter, it was too late.
Led by Isaiah Field's 19 second-half points, No. 3 Allegany outscored Berlin Brothersvalley, 34-27, following the intermission, but a 17-point halftime deficit was too steep a hill to surmount in a 70-60 defeat.
"Very, very physical tonight, to say the least," Allegany head coach Tedd Eirich said. "We're down a ton at halftime, we came out in the second half and we picked up the intensity. We got it back to single digits.
"I'm never happy after a loss, but I'm happy that they did not lay down. They could've beat us by 40 if we didn't step it up there. It showed a little bit of character. I was wondering what our team legacy was going to be. I was happy that we showed something that encourages me for the rest of the year."
Berlin (15-1), which is 115-15 over the last five seasons and hasn't lost at home in two years, is 4-0 against Cumberland schools since the start of last campaign.
The Mountaineers, with an enrollment just north of 200 students, defeated No. 1 Fort Hill, 75-65, in overtime earlier this year and beat both city public schools during the 2022-23 season.
Allegany (10-3) trailed by a game-high 52-32 with 4:56 to play in the third quarter but clawed to within 61-52 with 3:57 left in the contest following a transition score by Fields, who ended with a team-high 25 points.
Berlin answered the moment of danger with a 3-point dagger by Prosser, one of his four in the game, on the next possession.
The Campers got within eight with a little more than a minute left but couldn't get closer.
"Beating a school like Allegany, it was a good win," Berlin head coach Tanner Prosser said. "I wasn't real happy with how we played in the second half, but we played hard.
"We had three games in four days, so it was good we were able to close it out. Give Allegany credit, they didn't quit. They came out in the second half and made things tough on us."
Berlin jumped out to an 18-14 lead after the first quarter, and the eight minutes that followed all but decided the outcome.
Berlin dominated the second 25-12 to race into halftime with a 17-point edge. Pace Prosser had 18 of his game-high 32 points before halftime and Jarvis scored 15 of his 26 before the break.
Allegany's undoing was its inability to finish at the rim, hampered by the physicality of play, turnovers and poor transition defense.
Despite Allegany pounding the ball down low, Berlin wasn't called for its first foul of the opening half until there were just 54.9 seconds to go in the second quarter. The Campers shot zero first-half free throws.
Berlin, meanwhile, did most of its damage on the outside — the Mountaineers sunk eight 3-pointers — and the physical nature of the game didn't appear to affect them.
"They throw up a lot of 3-pointers and make them," Eirich said. "We want to penetrate and be strong and get the ball down low to Zach (Michael) and Dylan (Shaffer). We sort of have two different styles.
"It's been a long time since I've seen a game (called) like that."
Shaffer and Michael finished with 14 and 10 points, respectively, but neither shot a free throw. Fields was the only Allegany player to make it to the charity stripe, sinking 5 of 6 attempts.
Allegany averages 19.2 free-throw attempts a game.
Regardless of the lack of whistles, Allegany missed its fair share of open lay-ups, which led to run-outs and transition opportunities for Berlin.
"We've been missing bunnies and foul shots all year," Eirich said. "It's not something that's brand new. We're going to have to concentrate and not worry about whether we're going to get whacked or something is going to get called. We just have to play through."
When Allegany did get back on defense, it often gave too much attention to Prosser and Jarvis, Eirich said, which left other players open.
The main beneficiary was Mac Foor — 10 of his 12 points came in transition.
Other than Prosser, Jarvis and Foor, no other Berlin player scored.
Allegany didn't shoot its first free throws until the 2:25 mark of the third quarter, which was also Berlin's first foul of the second half.
Berlin's ability to defend and rebound without fouling was the defining characteristic of the game.
"Michael is tough on the block, Fields is super athletic and then they play another big," coach Prosser said, "so you have to get them off the block. You have to be able to wall straight up, and I thought we did a nice job rebounding.
"We also put some pressure on them to make it tougher for them to look inside."
Allegany found success late in the third quarter and in the fourth isolating Fields on the right side. The senior went on a personal 6-0 run to end the third to cut the deficit down to 58-45.
Fields had five field goals and 11 points in the fourth.
The defeat was Allegany's third in four games after a 9-0 start, but its improved play after halftime encouraged Eirich.
"We just want to build on the second half tonight," he said. "Our energy, our aggressiveness are key factors that we have lacked all year. It looked like we actually wanted to play. We were playing hard. We were on the floor. Everything was positive."
Berlin won the junior varsity game 52-50. Devin Tinnen and Chris Manherz paced the Alco JVs with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
The Campers will look to get right in Saturday's home matchup with Clear Spring at 1:30 p.m.
Alex Rychwalski is a sports reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @arychwal.