With a little less than three minutes remaining in the first half of Saturday's Class 1A West Region final between Brunswick High School and Allegany, a disgruntled Camper fan grumbled to nobody in particular, “All [Brunswick] can do is shoot threes.”
She wouldn't hear anybody argue the contrary, but she also wouldn't hear anybody from the Brunswick section say that they really cared. After all, by that point in the game, the Railroaders had hit eight 3-pointers — four of which were by Zach Hossler — to build a sizeable 18-point cushion, and were shooting at a 57 percent clip from beyond the arc.
“We've had some games where we hit a lot early, but we've had other games where we couldn't [hit] water if we fell out of a boat,” said Hossler, a junior, after Brunswick defeated Allegany 73-48. “I wouldn't say it's a surprise, but eight of them, that's a lot.”
The 3-pointer barrage would slow to a near halt by the second half, as the Railroaders hit just one, which came in the game's final seconds by Cody Smith, but that's all they would need. Hossler, who scored 14 points in the first quarter, did the rest of his damage from the free throw line and on fast break layups, shooting 7-of-8 from the stripe to finish with a game-high 23 points.
“Obviously it helps a lot when we shoot well,” said Joe Fawley, who hit a pair of 3-pointers. “This is the highest we've scored all year. We were just on fire. We were ready, we were ready for this game. ... This might be the best basketball we've played all year so we're really proud.”
The fervent pace that Brunswick began the game with — the Railroaders, a team that had never eclipsed 70 prior to the weekend, were on pace to score 104 after the first quarter — was relaxed once a 20-point lead was built up.
“If we were to catch fire for an entire game, I believe we would score over 100,” Dallas Darling said. “I mean, that's the first time we've scored over 70.”
Chance Smith took advantage of a stretched out Allegany defense to score 12 points — 10 off of wide open layups, two off free throws — on just six shots and Jay Howard added six points in similar fashion while Fawley (seven points), Darling (13 points), Smith (three points), and Brandon Axline (three points) would help out Hossler in combining for five more 3-pointers.
“This is our best game by far,” coach Dan McLane said. “We always tell the kids, 'Sometimes you think you're playing bad and you're just shooting bad. Sometimes you think you're playing good and you're shooting good.' And today, we really did shoot the basketball well, but we did a lot of other things well also, on both ends of the floor, so by far our best game.”
The win earned Brunswick its first trip to the state tournament since 2000 and the Railroaders will have a chance to claim their first state title since 1977. After Urbana and Oakdale both won their respective games on Friday, Frederick County now has three representatives in the state tournament, which tips off on Thursday at the University of Maryland's Comcast Center.
Brunswick 73, Allegany 48
Brunswick 26 20 14 13 — 73
Allegany 19 8 9 12 — 48
Brunswick (16-8; 9-5): Zach Hossler 23; Dallas Darling 13; Chance Smith 12; Joe Fawley 7; Jay Howard 6; Blaine Price 4; Brandon Axline 3; Cody Smith 3; Collin Nusbaum 2.
Allegany (20-6; 14-2): Trenton Eirich 11; Christian Thomas 10; Darquel Jessie 8; Bryce Nightengale 7; Colton Civic 7; Hayden Bosely 5.