Justin Dobbs came off the bench to score 17 points to lead the Allderdice Dragons to a surprisingly easy 57-40 victory over the Oliver Bears to win their first City League championship since 1988.
ALLDERDICE BOYS CELEBRATE CITY LEAGUE TITLE
The two teams had gone a combined 75 years without winning a basketball championship, which has been dominated in previous years by Schenley.
After trailing 21-20 at halftime, the Dragons took charge in the third quarter behind the brilliant play of the young sophomore who had nine of his 17 points in that quarter. A 12-0 burst pretty much sealed the game as Oliver went ice cold.
“Dobbs did a heck of a job,” Allderdice coach Andre McDonald said. “He had to start when our point guard (Brandon Johnson) went down for about nine games. He averaged 17 points a game for us right from the start. As a sophomore, he’s been tremendous for us.”
Senior Ishmael Swain (16) and sophomore Ben Mickens (12) were key contributors for the Dragons, who were playing in their second consecutive City League title game after falling to Perry last season.
“I talked to them at halftime about being here in the championship last year and letting it slip away,” McDonald said. “We made a real commitment about their guards not getting any outside shots. We did some switching off match-up zones and some man-to-man pressure. That’s what our defense was about, putting our wings around them and not letting them breathe, and that’s what we did in the third quarter.”
Allderdice held Oliver senior Evan Schell to nine points. Schell, perhaps the Bears’ most dangerous shooter, averaged 20 points per game in Oliver’s post-season victories over Schenley and Westinghouse.
PERRY GIRLS CELEBRATE CITY LEAGUE TITLE
“Defensively, they played very physical,” Oliver coach Carey White said. “They did not let us run anything we usually run. We settled for moving and taking longer shots instead of attacking the paint. Our guard play was not that good today.”
Oliver hadn’t won a title since 1957. For now, the Bears (20-5) will turn their attention to the Class AAA PIAA playoffs, where they will meet West Mifflin in the play-in round March 12. Allderdice will face Gateway March 13 at 4 p.m. at Peabody in the PIAA Class AAAA play.
“It’s an opportunity to continue playing high school basketball,” White said about the PIAA playoffs. “We have a lot of seniors on our team. It’s time for them to show how good they are.”
The Bears had a 13 game winning streak going into the City playoffs and stretched it to 15 with wins over Schenley 54-38 and Westinghouse 67-63 before the lost.
White said it was a combination of factors that led to the Bears’ demise. “Allderdice was determined to take it to the hoop in the second half, and we weren’t able to stop them.”
Things weren’t much better offensively for the Bears as they converted just 13 of their 36 field-goal attempts in the second half. Delvon Murray led Oliver with 12 points.
Dobbs’ performance wasn’t a surprise to McDonald. Dobbs was a starter when point guard Brandon Johnson missed nine games with an injury.
“We had to move Brandon McLester to the point and start Dobbs,” McDonald said of the shifting caused by the injury. “When Dobbs was starting, he was averaging 17 points a game. He did a great job as a sophomore to step up.”
McDonald said a defensive effort was made to ensure that the Bears’ perimeter shots would be challenged.
“We made a commitment not to let their guards get any outside shots,” he said. “We did some switching off some matchup zones and some man-to-man pressure.”
Defending girls champion Westinghouse dropped the League championship to Perry (17-8, 14-2), 48-44 at Peabody High School on March 6.
Tatayanna Cox-Taylor of Westinghouse (19-6, 14-2) fouled out with just under seven minutes to play.
This was Perry’s first appearance in the League final since 1997.
“This group has come so far since getting beat by 34 at Blackhawk at the beginning
of the season,” Perry coach Ed Allison said.
Perry’s Dashawna Carey led all scorers with 20 points, 15 of which she scored in the second half.
“Westinghouse is a tough team. They’re in it every year, and our girls were nervous as heck in the first half,” said Allison. “But we fought through it.”
Ashia Regan and Marrita Gilcrease (19 rebounds) added 12 points each for Perry.
Westinghouse’s Cox-Taylor finished with 16 to lead the Bulldogs.
Perry and Westinghouse will play at Chartiers Valley and Blackhawk, respectively, March 13 and March 9 in the AAA PIAA state play-in round. Allderdice and Schenley will be the AAAA representatives and will play Baldwin and Bethel Park March 12 and March 9.
(D.W. Howze contributed to this story.)