Moments after his team won the Maryland JuCo tournament title yesterday, Dundalk coach Don Beasley left because he felt poorly after coaching the last couple days with the flu.
He also probably felt pretty lucky.
After losing one of its main weapons early in the second half, Dundalk had to survive a late comeback by Allegany before emerging with a 77-76 victory at Baltimore City Community College.
The Lions (25-5) advance to the Region 20 tournament, which will take place at Allegany Community College, beginning Thursday. The win was Dundalk's second this season over the perennial JuCo power from Western Maryland.
Dundalk edged defending Maryland JuCo and Region 20 champ Baltimore, 71-70, in a semifinal game on Saturday night, almost relinquishing a 16-point halftime lead.
Allegany (22-7) wiped out a 13-point deficit with five minutes left before Jaki Garrison followed a miss by Anthony Chase with 7.8 seconds remaining. A running three-pointer by Allegany's Dominic Taylor bounced off the rim as time expired.
"We've survived everything," said Chase, a 5-foot-10 guard who was named MVP. "We started not even knowing if we would win 10 games. We believe we have some of the best talent in Maryland, and we had to jell."
Chase, who scored 25 points, and backcourt mate Eugene Jackson have loomed large in Dundalk's success. But Jackson was ejected yesterday after picking up his second technical with 18: 27 remaining.
Shavery Garrison (16 points), Sean Winston (six points, seven rebounds), David Hook and Evans Clark helped pick up the slack for the Lions before Jaki Garrison put the Lions over the top with his only points.
With 4: 47 remaining, Dundalk owned a 72-59 lead, but Allegany mounted an intense comeback, hitting six of seven shots (including three three-pointers) to gain a 76-74 advantage with 37.2 seconds left.
A free throw by Shavery Garrison cut the deficit to one. Taylor, who led Allegany with a game-high 26 points, missed the front end of a one-and-one with 19.6 seconds remaining.
Chase, who had only six points in the second half, misfired on a 15-footer, but Jaki Garrison got his hands on the ball and put it back in.
"We put ourselves in a pretty big hole when we weren't shooting the ball very well," said Allegany coach Bob Kirk, whose team rallied for an overtime triumph over Cecil in Saturday's semifinals. "We got down 21, but our kids never stopped playing. We had a shot to win at the end, and that's all you hope your kids do all the time."
Nick Clay scored 19 points for Allegany and Lamont Sides had 18. Eugene Jackson had 18 for Dundalk before his ejection.
Shavery Garrison, Clay and Taylor were named to the all-tournament team. Lee Reliford (Baltimore) and D. J. Wootson (Cecil) also were named.
ALLEGANY -- Sides 18, Taylor 26, Clay 19, Dongo 2, Brown 2, Bynum 2, Bolden 2, Briscoe 3, Handlos 2. Totals 29 7-14 76.
DUNDALK -- Chase 25, Hook 6, E. Jackson 18, Clark 4, B. Jackson 2, Winston 6, S. Garrison 16, J. Garrison 2. Totals 25 19-31 77.
Halftime: Dundalk, 44-34.
Pub Date: 2/22/99