by Malik Vincent
For New Pittsburgh Courier
Allderdice junior guard Justin Dobbs wouldn’t be deterred from a cold first half, shooting just one of 11 from the field. He recovered in the final seven minutes, scoring 13 to lead his Dragons to a victory in the Class AAAA PIAA State Playoffs over Chartiers Valley, 67-52, at Peabody on March 12.
“The best thing about Justin is his attitude,” Allderdice coach Andre McDonald said. “He never changes his routine or his approach. He knew he was cold (in the second half) but his confidence took over.”
Junior big man Ben Mickens added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Dragons who advance to take on Butler, March 16 at 6 p.m. at North Allegheny Highschool.
In his fifth season as Allderdice’s coach, it was McDonald’s first-ever win in States.
“It shows that our program is going in the right direction,” McDonald said. “We beat a good Quad-A team on the State level, and that is what we’ve worked so hard on to get our program there.”
For the past two seasons, Allderdice’s attempts to advance in the State Playoffs had been to no avail. They dropped tight ones to Gateway (46-43) last year, and Mt. Lebanon (49-45) in 2009.
As far as the game on March 12, Allderdice knew they would have to do no different than what they did against rival Perry in the City title game, a week prior, in that very same gym.
“Defensively they played together as a team,” McDonald added. “We stuck with the game plan and got control over what they were doing. I also thought Mickens did a great job against (Chartiers Valley star) Wayne Capers in the second half. The way he played defense on him really helped us out.”
Perry also advanced in the Class AAA PIAA playoffs by beating Blackhawk, 69-47, on March 11 at Brashear. The Commodores were led by senior guard Marcus Smith with a game-high 24 points.
“Our goal was to move forward in the state playoffs,” Perry coach Marco Corona said. “We were disappointed when we dropped the City title last week but that wasn’t necessarily our goal coming into the season. It would have been nice, but this is really what we wanted to do.”
Senior Devin Ghafoor added 13 points for Perry. Greg McGhee had a second-best total of 20 for the Commodores. Corona pointed out that he’ll be looking to McGhee for leadership, going into the next round.
“He is the quarterback of our team,” Corona referenced about McGhee. “Undisputedly, he’s the leader of our group. He does a great job of that.”
Perry was scheduled to face Franklin in the second round March 15, at Slippery Rock University.
“We showed a different style of play out there against Blackhawk,” Corona said. “We wanted to slow down and be more methodical. We wanted them to play our style as opposed to us playing their game. It seemed to have worked out just fine for us.”
NOTE: Schenley and Peabody both participated in PIAA play-in round games on March 8 and neither was able to come out victorious. For both teams, it marks the final time that either will compete in their respective uniforms. Both schools will close after this school year.
(Follow our continuing coverage of the City League.)
(Malik Vincent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)