‘Return of the Dragon’

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by Malik Vincent
New Pittsburgh Courier

Recalling reigning All-City MVP Justin Dobbs’ sophomore year, another player who led his team in scoring all season long did so again in the City Championship game.

c5girlschamps
GIRLS CITY LEAGUE CHAMPS—The Allderdice girls team celebrates their City League Championship as Dr. Linda Lane, superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, presents them with the championship trophy, Feb. 25. Allderdice (21-3) beat Westinghouse (19-5) 49-46. See story and more photos on C5. (Photo by William McBride)

Behind sophomore JaVaughn Moultrie’s 15 points, the Courier’s preseason favorite Allderdice (18-6) edged USO (University Prep, Sci-Tech, and Obama), 56-49, for their third consecutive City title on Feb. 25 at Peabody.

Jevaughn’s twin, DeVaughn, also chipped in seven points to help Allderdice push past a taleneted USO team.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of playing great defense,” Allderdice coach Andre McDonald said. “We’ve always preached that to the kids in our program and it’s worked out tremendously for us.”

As the league’s stingiest defense, the Dragons have given up a city-low 52.9 points per contest. They’ve maintained that title all of the last five seasons. So much so that during games, the students wear shirts with their team’s coined nickname, “Hawk D” on it, which also appears on their uniforms.

“It’s really something that our entire student body, faculty, and team take great pride in,” McDonald added.

Ishmael Swain was the city’s leading scorer in 2010 when the Dragons brought their first of three consecutive titles to Allderdice. But Dobbs led the pack with a game-high 17 points.

The 6-foot-3 senior guard/forward leads the city in scoring, averaging 20.2 points a contest. He, and fellow senior and All-City first teamer Ben Mickens, have both received attention from Division-I programs.

Mickens led the team with 14 rebounds and added 8 points for the Dragons.

“Our seniors have been blessed with tremendous talent,” McDonald said. “If it wasn’t for the hard work, unselfishness, and pure dedication to this team, we would not be where we are today.”

USO (16-6) was led by sophomore D.J. Porter, who shot 7-of-13 from the field and ended up with 15 points. Senior guard Dontae Forte added 10 for the Eagles. Their coach, Kevin Reid, was unreachable for comment.

The success of the Allderdice basketball program, according to McDonald, is due to the undying support of the boosters’ organization always providing for the team, and to the students who always rally around them.

“We have a great atmosphere for sports at Allderdice,” he said. “It’s no mistake that our football team appeared in its title game and that we’ve three-peated in ours. We have a tremendous following, a great support from our family and friends. That brings a great feeling to us as a team.”

Allderdice will play in the PIAA Class AAAA first round March 10. USO advances to the PIAA play-in round and will take on the WPIAL’s third-place team.

GIRLS

A familiar face to the Lady Dragons’ success, Lanise Saunders led her team with a game-high 14 points to solidify a three-peat of their own.

Syndnee Abernathy followed up with 12 points and senior guard Janay Bottoms added 10 points as Allderdice (21-3) pushed past Westinghouse, 49-46, on Feb 25 at Peabody.

“I think both teams brought what they could and played their best,” Saunders said. “But (we) took it a step further and played like a family.”

A 6-foot-2 post player, Saunders signed a National Letter of Intent with Division-II Gannon University earlier this year for a full athletic scholarship.

“We got the win,” she said with pride. “But we don’t plan on stopping here. We plan to carry that exact same intensity into State competition.”

Saunders carries a 4.2 GPA and has been the driving force behind the Dragons in their quest for a title. She added 11 rebounds to her point total and has become one of the main producers of the double-double in the city.

Westinghouse (19-5) was led by Cassandra Flowers who had a team-high 10 points.

Allderdice, which also defeated the Bulldogs in the final game last year, advances to the first round of the PIAA Class AAAA tournament on March 9.

(Malik Vincent can be reached at mvincent@newpittsburghcourieronline.com or on Twitter @malikvincent.)

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