As quickly as a Jerald Williams steal and layup gave Lycoming a two-point lead in the opening minutes of the second half, it fizzled even quicker.
Lamont Clark drove into Lycoming's defense on the ensuing possession, drew the foul, and made his attempt to give Alvernia a one-point lead.
The play embodied No. 1 Alvernia's second half as it converted 22 of 28 free throw attempts en route to a 78-68 win over No. 3 Lycoming to secure the Commonwealth Conference Championship.
Alvernia was led by all-conference selection Brian Parker, who scored 15 of his game-high 30 points in the second half. He also pulled down seven of his 11 rebounds to help Alvernia control the paint and force Lycoming to foul.
"They started going with more isolations with Parker in the post," Lycoming coach Guy Rancourt said. "It gave us problems. We helped off as best we could. We just couldn't control his ability to draw contact and finish at the rim."
With just 40 seconds left in the contest, Parker put the exclamation point on the win with a breakaway dunk to restore Alvernia's nine-point lead. Parker also chipped in 11 rebounds to finish with a double-double, which eventually earned him Commonwealth Conference MVP honors.
It marked the second consecutive season Lyco lose in the league title game.
Alvernia opened a 7-0 run to start as Lycoming (17-10) couldn't find a basket from the floor. The Warriors opened with eight consecutive misses before a Michael Rudy layup at 16:05 eventually got them a much needed basket from the floor.
"It's every coach's worst nightmare," Rancourt said of the start. "We talked about it before every playoff game, and told the guys the first basket is the most important. It breaks the ice and gets you going in the right direction."
The Warriors chipped away at the Alvernia (23-4) lead, which hit 10 points on two separate occasions.
At 5:45 to go before halftime, William Wingate got Lycoming within three points of a tie with a traditional three-point play. Wingate, who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, fought through traffic and managed to make a layup despite being fouled on the attempt.
After a defensive stand on the other end, Anthony Martin, who finished with 20 points, five blocks, and four rebounds, keyed a 7-0 run to give Lycoming its first lead of the game.
"They guys maintained their focus and understood that possession by possession we would be okay," Rancourt said. "They did a good job fighting through it."
On the run, Martin took a Patrick doughier pass in for a layup to cut Alvernia's lead down two five. The momentum continued to go the way of the Warrior, as Wingate and Martin exchanged baskets for the game's first tie at 25. Wingate then took a steal and broke away for a dunk to give Lyco a 27-25 lead.
Jerald Williams (12 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists) closed out the first half with the first of two treys to give Lycoming a 37-34 lead at halftime.
Once in the second half, though, Lycoming, which held a 20-18 advantage in rebounding through the first half, struggled to grab boards in the second half. It allowed Alvernia to extend possessions and draw fouls on underneath the basket.
"Timeouts were becoming short. We were hoping to have a couple more to help weather a few storms in the second half," Rancourt said. "It made it difficult to control the runs that took place in the second half."
Parker, who excelled at drawing contact and attacking the post, was responsible for one of those runs.
Alvernia's leading scorer connected on two free throws and hit a jumper over one of those runs to give Alvernia an eight-point lead.
Anthony Martin 8-18 4-5 20; William Wingate 6-13 6-7 18; Jerald Williams 5-11 0-0 12; Patrick Dougher 3-9 0-0 7; Chris Foreman 1-9 2-2 4; Michael Rudy 2-7 0-0 4; John Ryan Wolff 1-1 0-0 2; Kevin Anthony 0-0 1-2 1; Justin Miller 0-1 0-0 0; Rob Pillow IV 0-0 0-0 0; John Monkam 0-0 0-0 0; Kevin Laurence El 0-0 0-0 0; Eric Ishman 0-0 0-0 0; Armani Taylor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-69 13-16 68.
Brian Parker 12-18 6-8 30; Lamont Clark 5-15 8-9 18; Terrance Bridgers 3-9 7-10 14; Kahlil Bennett 3-11 0-1 9; Chris Davis 2-9 3-4 7; Steve Schneider 0-0 0-0 0; Harrison Deyo 0-0 0-0 0; Charles Cooper 0-0 0-0 0; Kirby Turner 0-0 0-0 0; Thomas Rymal 0-0 0-0 0; Josh Vargas 0-0 0-0 0; David Sloan 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 25-62 24-34 78.
Halftime: Lycoming, 37-34. 3-point goals--Lycoming 3-17 (Williams 2-4; Dougher 1-6; Foreman 0-3; Rudy 0-3; Wingate 0-1), Alvernia 4-14 (Bennett 3-7; Bridgers 1-3; Davis 0-4). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Lycoming 42 (Wingate 12), Alvernia 44 (Parker 11). Assists--Lycoming 15 (Williams 7), Alvernia 11 (Davis 7). Total fouls--Lycoming 24, Alvernia 13. Technicals: None. A: 1043