by Malik Vincent
For New Pittsburgh Courier

Allderdice head coach Andre McDonald preaches defensive toughness to his players. If you ask anyone on his staff or someone he’s coached, he swears by it. So much, that the Dragons have proudly sported “HAWK-D” on their warm-ups for the past five years, and this season on their uniforms. But they aren’t the only ones who do.

“It was uplifting to hear the entire student body chanting HAWK-D,” McDonald said. “It was really motivation to our guys to play the best game that we could.”

‘HAWK-D’—The Allderdice boys celebrate with the championship trophy after defeating Perry 73-63 in the City League championship game March 5. (Courier photo/William McBride/File)

Led by senior Cameron Bailey’s 22 points and Eric Mallinger’s near triple-double, Allderdice (12-4, 17-7) won its second consecutive City League boys basketball Championship over top-seeded Perry, 73-63, at Peabody High School March 5.

“It was a great contest,” Bailey said. “But I have to give much credit to our coaching staff, they had a great scouting report and they did everything they could to get us prepared for battle.”

Perry had been the favorite to win it all after surrendering one conference game all year and defeating Allderdice in both of their regular season meetings.

“I realized we needed to be prepared this time,” McDonald added. “We broke down the film from the last four meetings and made sure that we were going to come out and compete at our highest level.”

Junior guard Justin Dobbs added a game-high 23 points for the Dragons but admits that he got off to a slow start.

“My shot was off early so I eventually got to a point where I was just trying to get to the foul line.” Dobbs said. “We started to run the pick and roll and once that happened, I was fortunate enough to start making good decisions with the basketball.”

Mallinger finished with nine points, 11 blocks, and 16 rebounds.

“I knew that the offense was going to come,” Mallinger said. “I take pride in doing what I need to do on the defensive end. The coaches and I don’t even need to discuss that. I just try to go out there every game and crash the boards, as well as to make plays on defense.”

Perry’s normal leading scorer, Marcus Smith, was held to only 10 points for the Commodores (15-1, 21-4). They were led by Bruce Grover’s 19 points and Greg McGhee’s 16, 11 of which he converted from the free-throw line.

“We set out to build a strong program from top to bottom,” Allderdice assistant coach Jason Rivers said. “We’re the only team in the city that has a ninth grade program that feeds into our junior varsity, and goes into varsity. These kids do a tremendous job to get prepared to come up and win in this level.”

(Reprinted from the March 9, New Pittsburgh Courier.)

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