City League Basketball playoff preview

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by Malik Vincent

At season’s beginning, the Allderdice boy’s basketball team was the clear favorite to repeat in the City League.

On Feb. 15, they were upset by Peabody (8-7, 9-8), 59-51, in what was the final home game in history for the Highlanders basketball program.

Bruce-Grover
TWO POINTS—Bruce Grover of Perry lays in two of his 12 points in the Commodores 71-69 win over Allderdice.

Peabody’s coach Tim Broderick Sr. and others from the athletic department were unreachable for comment.

“Peabody played a good game,” said Allderdice coach Andre McDonald. “We were without two of our starters. They simply outworked us and handed us a tough road loss.”

The City League playoffs begin Wed., Feb. 23. At Courier press time there were several playoff-seeding possibilities and it was not clear who would face off and when. The second-round will commence on March 1.

Allderdice still looks to be a key factor in who is crowned the City League champion on Sat. March 5 at Peabody High School.

They feature two of the city’s top scorers in Justin Dobbs and Ben Mickens.

Dobbs is a player whose leadership skills and uncanny scoring ability propels the Dragons’ offense. He currently averages 20.4 points per game. Mickens complements that style and his size gives him an advantage over most. He’s their second-leading scorer (15.5 per game).

The top dogs, Perry (14-1, 18-3), are looking to avenge their loss to Allderdice in last year’s title game.

Their point guard Marcus Smith has tremendous athletic ability and can help the Commodores bring back the title to Perry. Off-guard Bruce Grover brings a consistent jump shot to their offense and forward Greg McGhee’s solid frame and pure talent will give them an edge, as well.

Schenley (11-5 14-8) may have the most prolific scorer in the City League right now in 5-foot-9 senior guard Brandon Johnson. His size is no indicator of the way he can stymie opposing defenses with his all-around scoring arsenal. He’s had multiple 40-point games for the Spartans.

Peabody has one of the best players in the city in Dontae Forte. At the forward position, he’s put up 20-point performances on a consistent basis. The Highlanders could be a surprise team in this year’s playoffs.

Joining Peabody, only Carrick (12-7, 10-5) and the Spartans will be legitimate challengers to Perry and Allderdice for the City League title.

Guards Rasheed McKamey and Lafon Pace, as well as forward Mike Talton will lead the Raiders into the postseason, all of which have put up double-figured games throughout the season.

Eight of the nine teams will be in the playoffs, with the team with the best record playing the team with the worst. Only Langley boys and Oliver girls are out.

STANDINGS

Team Conf. Overall

1. Perry 14-1 18-3

2. Allderdice 11-4 13-7

3. Schenley 11-4 14-8

4. Carrick 10-5 12-7

5. Peabody 8-7 9-8

6. Oliver 5-10 5-16

7. Brashear 4-11 6-15

8. Westinghouse 4-11 6-15

9. Langley 1-14 1-20

GIRLS

The Allderdice girls have been the dominant force in the league. With a 15-0 mark, they look to be the favorites to capture another title this year.

Led by junior guards Janay Bottoms and DaJai Beasley, the Dragons have won 14 of their last 15 games.

Westinghouse comes in a close second with the experience and leadership of their long-time coach, Phyllis Jones. Guard Kayla Key has been a regular double-digit scorer for the Bulldogs.

Defending champs, Perry, have two the of the best players in the city in 6-foot-2 post player, Marritta Gilcrease and her teammate Latosha Fortson. All of their wins this season have come in league play.

STANDINGS

1. Allderdice 15-0 17-4

2. Westinghouse 16-2 13-5

3. Brashear 11-4 13-6

4. Perry 10-5 10-11

5. Schenley 7-9 7-14

6. Langley 6-9 10-10

7. Peabody 3-12 3-15

8. Carrick 2-13 2-15

9. Oliver 1-14 2-16

(Malik Vincent can be reached at malikvincent@gmail.com.)

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