City League basketball preview…Westinghouse girls hope to continue reign

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Schenley lost one of the most talented girls high school players in the nation in Markell Walker to graduation. The McDonald’s All-American is now attending UCLA and is a freshman guard on their women’s basketball team.

This opens the door for London McCoy and Shaunice Lightfoot standing at 5-8 and 5-9 respectively to do some damage for the Lady Spartans this year. They hope to match an excellent season in 2008-09 in which they tied a league-high 21 wins.

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MICKITA WHITE of Westinghouse plays tough defense against Brashear’s ASHLEE ALBRIGHT.

The Lady Spartans, however, suffered a devastating 52-51 loss to Westinghouse in the City League title game.

“I truly believe that any team can win on any given day,” said Westinghouse’s head coach Phyllis Jones. “I’ve seen good things out of (for example) Peabody, Allderdice, Perry, and Oliver. It is truly a wide open field (as opposed to previous years.)”

In order for the Spartans to rebound, they must first concentrate on the defending champion Bulldogs who will have Jones back for her 20th season as head coach. They have built a solid tradition in their program as they’ve appeared in 22 straight title games.

The Bulldogs welcome back lone starter Tatayanna Cox-Taylor, a senior guard, and also hope to see their 6-2 center Marritta Gillcrease use her height to be more productive for Westinghouse this season.

“We are a young team and we have a lot to learn. I’ve done more teaching than usual this year, for certain,” said Jones. “It’s my hope that we can make it back to the big stage but we will have to win some big ones down the stretch.”

Perry was the only other winning team in the League last year with a record of 15-7.

Brashear, who finished just about in the middle of the pack with a 1-5 conference record last season, will feature two girls who hope to make an impact this season for the Bulls. They are the 5-8 sophomore guard Ashley Albright and 6 foot power forward Antwanette Williams.

“We’re getting better,” said Brashear’s head coach Bob Fazio. “I think we may end up close to where we were last season but our team is still young and certainly improving.”

Oliver is in the same predicament as they surprised many with their 2-2 conference record.

(D.W. Howze can be reached at dwhowze@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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