By Jack Creegan
HAGERSTOWN, MD -- Baltimore City Community College defeated Allegany College of Maryland 80-78 on Sunday to capture the NJCAA Region XX Division I Men's Basketball Championship, hosted by Hagerstown Community College.
The Panthers move on to the NJCAA District III Championship and will face ASA College on Friday at St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn, N.Y. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Baltimore City faced a tall task in the first round, as they were matched up against a Harford team that had defeated them earlier in the season. It was a back forth battle that appeared to be in Harford's control, the Fighting Owls led by as much as eight with under ten minutes left in regulation.
The Panthers outscored the Fighting Owls 24-3 in the final 6:13 of the game to advance to the tournament finals. All-Maryland Juco Conference second team forward Ed Oliver-Hampton of Baltimore City led all scorers with 26 points off the bench.
On the other side of the bracket, Allegany coasted to 107-86 victory over Chesapeake. All-Maryland Juco Conference first team forward Demarcus Demonia and Hirk Williams led the way, scoring 22 and 20 points, respectively. The pair was incredibly efficient on the day, with Demonia missing just three shots while Williams went a perfect 9-9 from the floor.
The tournament final was nail biter that came down to the wire, with Baltimore City gutting out a narrow two point victory to claim the tournament championship.
The Panthers fell behind early, trailing by as much as 15 in the first half and Allegany led by 11 going into the break.
The Trojans came out much like they did in the first half and quickly pushed the lead back up to 15 with just under 18 minutes to play. Baltimore City clawed their way back into the game, leveling the score at 59 with 10:42 left.
Allegany nursed a one score lead until Baltimore City took its first lead of the game with 3:59 left in regulation.
With just 19 seconds left on the clock and Baltimore City up by three, Allegany's Jaylon Myles was fouled while attempting to tie the game. He was able to convert all three free throws and tie the game at 78-78.
Oliver-Hampton, who went on to be named to the All-Tournament team, took a pass from teammate and tournament Most Valuable Player Malik Marrow, and converted the game winning layup with six seconds remaining to give Baltimore City the title.
Marrow led all scorers with 29 points while Myles led the way for Allegany with 25.