Rebounding was just the tip of the problem for HCC (7-9). The Hawks were not only nearly tripled by the Trojans (15-1) in rebounding, Allegany took the balance of the checks HCC needed. Consider:
Allegany shut down the Hawks' guards and hit nine 3s to HCC's five.
Allegany outscored HCC by 16 points inside and 12 from long range, accounting for 28 of the 31-point losing margin.
"When you only hit five of 30 shots from 3, it's time to stop shooting it," Keyes said. "We stopped hitting and then we couldn't get into our 75 (man press). If we can't hit, we can't control the tempo of the game.
"We shot too many 3s and didn't get the ball inside. We cut the lead to 14 and then we went right back to the 3-ball."
HCC put on a quick burst to start the second half as Gebront Gaddy converted a three-point play to close within 51-36, but Allegany answered with a quick seven-point run - keyed by a pair of 3s by Jeremy Snyder - to cool the uprising.
The Hawks rallied again, going at Allegany on the inside and slicing the deficit to 74-60 with 8:40 remaining as Thomas Johnson scored six points in a 23-14 run.
Allegany countered with a pair of 3s - by Shawn Wiggins and Dwayne Shackleford - to blow out HCC's hopes like a candle. Then the Trojans milked the clock and forced it inside to close out the game.
Mickens led a parade of Allegany scorers in double figures with 21 points while Wiggins finishes with 20, including four 3s. Johnson had 12 points, while Gaddy added 11 for HCC.
It was the first Allegany-HCC game since the retirement of longtime Hawks' coach Jim Brown. The feel may have been different, but the game was just as important for both teams.
"This win puts us in the championship game in the Region XX tournament (in March)," Kirk said. "Kenny is trying to do the same things that (former coach) Jim (Brown) did on offense and defense. We talked to the kids about it. They knew how important this game was and we earned (the region seeding) the hard way by winning at Garrett and now here."