COLLEGE PARK -- The clock struck midnight for No. 19 Hereford last night.
D. J. Jessie sent the game into overtime and then scored six of his game-high 24 points in the extra session, lifting Allegany to a 50-45 victory over Hereford in the Class 2A state championship at Cole Field House.
Hereford, the fourth seed, finished the season 15-12. The Bulls had won seven straight before last night. Allegany, the second seed, finished 24-2. This was the Campers' 14th state title, the most by any team, and their first since 1964.
Hereford, which knocked off top-seed Edgewood in the semifinal, has made late comebacks a habit in the state playoffs, and last night was no different. The Bulls used a 10-1 run to take a lead with just under a minute left.
"We had a nice comeback," said Hereford coach Steve Power. "We caught them, and then we had a situation where we had our best player [Jamey Mathews] shooting our last shot."
The Bulls had trailed 40-33 after a Chris Powell (12 points) basket with 5:16 left. They rallied and took a 43-41 lead when Mathews hit a turnaround jumper with 1:04 left.
Allegany ran a play for Jessie, who got open in the right corner and tied the game with a 15-foot shot with 44.2 seconds left.
The Bulls had a shot to win it. They ran the clock down, and Mathews, while being double-teamed, missed a 10-foot shot with six seconds left.
In overtime, it was all Jessie. He made two baskets and hit two free throws as the Campers scored the final seven points of the game.
"I was trying to take it all on myself," said Jessie, who added 14 rebounds. "I was nervous, but I just put that behind me and focused on what I was doing."
Power said before the game that the Bulls needed to stop Jessie in order to win. Jessie (nine of 13 from the field) scored 10 points in the first quarter and, although quiet at times, always was there when Allegany needed him.
"He's a big-time player," said Power. "He's a great shooter."
Dewayne Fowble and John Wingeart sparked Hereford. Fowble, 6-feet-5, made seven of 11 from the field for 16 points. He added 12 rebounds and made several key baskets for the Bulls.
Wingeart also played a big role. The guard scored seven points and grabbed 10 rebounds..
Most of his steals came during Hereford's fourth-quarter run. The Bulls, who were using combination defenses, switched to a man-to-man defense and stepped up the full-court pressure.
"I just kind of stepped it up," said Wingeart. "I saw openings and went right at them."
The guard had a steal and hit two baskets during the 10-1 run, the second one a foul-line jumper that tied the game at 41 with 2:31 left.
"He sparked us," said Fowble. "It was a spark just like two rocks going together."
Mathews, Hereford's leading scorer, struggled all night. He scored seven overall, and only one in the first half.
The 6-foot-7 center came through in the fourth quarter, however, making two key baskets and playing good defense despite having four fouls.
Allegany had led the entire game before Hereford's late run. Still, the Campers were confident.
"I was a little concerned when they made the run," said Allegany coach Toby Eirich. "We've been fortunate to win a couple of close games, and I had confidence that our kids wouldn't lose their composure."