JOHNSTOWN - Second-seeded Tussey Mountain let a victory slip through its hands on Wednesday in the District 5 Class A boys basketball championship.
The Titans led by a point with 44.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter but couldn't hold off Shade as the top-seeded Panthers outlasted Tussey Mountain, 52-50, at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Sports Center.
The Panthers' Garrett Berkey made a driving layup with less than 30 seconds left before Josh Barnes converted a free throw with 10 ticks on the clock for a two-point lead.
Photo for the Mirror by Roger Vogel
Tussey Mountain’s Randy Zimmerman goes up against Shade’s Garrett Berkey.
Elliott Chamberlain's last-ditch drive came up short for the Titans as the buzzer sounded. The 6-foot sophomore could not get off a shot.
''Both teams played hard,'' Tussey Mountain coach David Bailey said. ''They made the shots at the end, and they made one more play than we did. Two good teams, good game. We had no complaints.''
The Titans led by as many as seven in the fourth quarter but were outscored, 15-6, over the final 5:47.
The Panthers (23-3) boast a 20-game win streak, dating to a one-point loss on Dec. 13 to Hollidaysburg that left Shade with a 3-3 mark.
Tussey Mountain defeated No. 7 Shanksville, 76-42, to open district play before dispatching No. 6 Rockwood, 45-31, in the semifinals.
Despite the loss to Shade that ended Tussey Mountain's five-game win streak, the Titans' victory over Rockwood clinched a state playoff berth.
Tussey Mountain will face the No. 3 seed from District 7 (WPIAL).
''Due to the screwy schedule, we've got 10 days to get better,'' Bailey said. ''So hopefully, we'll get better in the next 10 days. We look forward to the state tournament, and hopefully we'll play better.''
The Titans won the Class AA district championship last season with a victory over North Star.
Tussey Mountain (23-3) was led Wednesday by Levi Neuder's game-high 19 points. The 6-2 junior collected 10 rebounds.
''I thought Levi played well,'' Bailey said.
Randy Zimmerman chipped in 15 points, including the foul shot that put the Titans ahead for the last time.
The Titans led by three points at halftime and four heading into the final quarter despite playing without the inside presence of Eric Shuke.
''He got a stress fracture a couple of Saturdays ago,'' Bailey said of his 6-4 sophomore.
Three seniors led the way for Shade. Joel Kaminsky and Berkey each scored 14, and Barnes added 10 points.
''I can't say enough about the effort the guys put in,'' Shade coach Wade Fyock said. ''It was a very physical game. But I think the senior experience down the stretch paid off.''
Tussey Mountain (50): Zimmerman 5 5-8 15, Neuder 9 0-1 19, Chamberlain 3 2-5 9, Swope 1 0-0 2, DeLuca 2 1-2 5, Fisher 0 0-0 0, Shontz 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 8-16 50.
Shade (52): Smith 4 0-1 9, Kaminsky 4 6-6 14, Kudasik 1 0-0 3, Barnes 4 2-4 10, Berkey 5 4-9 14, Gibbons 1 0-0 2, Knapp 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 12-19 52.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Tussey Mountain13 11 14 12 - 50
Shade12 9 13 18 - 52
3-point field goals: Tussey Mountain 2 (Neuder, Chamberlain); Shade 2 (Smith, Kudasik).
Officials: Sam Zambanini, Rod Jarvis, Barry Saylor.
Records: Tussey Mountain (23-3); Shade (23-3).