"Consistency is the way we play," Allegany coach Bob Kirk said. "I think the difference for Allegany is that we try to do the same things that we have done since October. When we lost the 14-point lead, the guys didn't start pointing fingers at each other. They went out and encouraged each other."
After a first half where Allegany (28-2) beat HCC at its own fast-paced game, the Hawks turned the hose on the Trojans and slowed them down.
Mark Jennings started the turnaround by scoring two hoops to prime the pump before turning over the handle of the offense to Darius Hargrove. Hargrove scored 15 points in a three-minute span to help HCC close a 61-47 deficit to within 67-62 with 13:53 remaining.
Hargrove scored 27 points in the second half and finished with 34 points and three steals for the game.
"It was the uptempo game we wanted," HCC coach Jim Brown said. "When you have a game like that, the spurts will last longer and change infrequently. When we got our run, I felt we could clip away at the lead. In the second half, Hargrove played the way we expect him to. He stepped up his game and proved why he was Virginia's player of the year."
Allegany maintained its dwindling lead despite having center Troy Godwin and forward Trello Galloway saddled with four fouls each.
The Trojans kept HCC (24-6) at arm's length until a 10-5 spurt keyed by seven points by Hargrove, including a layup with 34 seconds left for a 94-93 Hawks' lead.
Kevin Mickens came off the bench to score a huge three-point play with 22 seconds left to help Allegany regain the lead, followed by Smith's circus layup for a 98-94 lead with 10 seconds left. HCC missed its final chance to come back when Terrel Kittelberger missed a 3-pointer out of the corner.
Smith finished with 26 points and Erick Wills added 21, including five 3s, to lead Allegany, but most of their damage came in the Trojans' highly efficient first half. Anthony Thompson had 16 and seven rebounds for HCC, while Jennings added 11.
The win gave Allegany the top seed and a first-round bye in this weekend's Region XX tournament at HCC. The Hawks are forced to play Garrett on Friday in the first round of the three-team national tournament qualifier.
Allegany 99, HCC 94
HAGERSTOWN COMMUNITY COLLEGE (94)
Wingae 1 0-0 3, Picard 1 1-2 3, Kittelberger 3 2-2 9, Bennett 1 0-0 3, thompson 7 2-4 16, Jenning 4 1-2 11, Draughn 2 3-3 7, Goodman 3 2-2 8, Hargrove 12 7-8 34. Totals 34 19-24 94.
ALLEGANY COLLEGE (99)
Wills 6 4-6 21, Smith 11 3-6 26, Galloway 3 5-8 11, Wiggins 0 2-2 2, Mickens 2 3-5 7, Snyder 5 2-2 14, Godwin 8 2-2 18. Totals 35 21-31 99.
Halftime - Allegany 51, HCC 37. Three-point baskets - HCC 8 ( Hargrove 3, Jennings 2, Kittelberger, Wingate), Allegany 8 (Wills 5, Snyder 2, Smith). Fouled out - Godwin.
Maryland JuCo Conference All-Tournament team: Charles Scott - Catonsville; Justin Ien - Cecil; Jernavis Draughn - HCC; Darius Hargrove - HCC; Erick Wills - Allegany.
MVP: Jamar Smith - Allegany.