By Malik Vincent

Allderdice’s head coach Andre McDonald has been adamant about making his team into a more competitive team on the PIAA ranks.

“Every year I think we have what it takes to go deep in the State tournament,” he said in a previous Courier interview.

They took a step in the right direction, last year, with a 67-52 first-round PIAA victory against Chartiers Valley.

STRONG PERFORMANCE—Robert Bailey of Westinghouse goes to the hoop for two of his 23 points, but it was not enough as the Bulldogs lost a close one to the Beaver Bobcats 51-49 in the PIAA Class AAA playoffs.

But a new challenge came into Peabody High School’s gym on March 10 for the Dragons with the arrival of one of Western PA’s leading scorers, Geno Thorpe of Shaler in this year’s state first-round matchup. He’s averaging around 22 per contest.

The 6-foot-3 junior Penn State recruit led Shaler, a WPIAL semifinalist, with 20 points on the way to a 57-51 win over the city champs in a Class PIAA Class AAAA first-round game.

“As a team, I thought we played well,” Thorpe said. “Though we didn’t shoot well at all in the beginning, we were able to make the necessary adjustments in the second half to be able to get the win.”

Those defensive changes, according to Thorpe, was to pay special attention to the city’s leading scorer Justin Dobbs who finished with 12 points.

“If (Dobbs) would have caught fire there’s really no telling where the game could have ended up,” he added.

Allderdice was led, for the second consecutive game, by sophomore Jevaughn Moultrie’s 19 points. Ben Mickens also chipped in 11 points for the Dragons.

“The kids were just looking frustrated out there,” Allderdice athletic director Jerry Haslett said. “Shaler had a good plan to contain Justin and, unfortunately for us, got the win.”

He believes their disparity on the state level comes from a lack of overall resources for city athletes.

“If you look at kids from the WPIAL as opposed to those from the city, they’re usually much thicker and stronger,” Haslett said. “They’re eating better and lifting more. They’re not eating junk like our kids.”

He also acknowledged the city’s lack of viable facilities.

“We only have one gym,” he said. “I know for a fact that Shaler has, at least, two. Both the boys and girls basketball team, as well as the wrestling team share our gym in the winter. There are even times when the wrestlers practice in the auditorium, on the stage. And they’re put out whenever the musicians are rehearsing.”

The city’s other AAAA representative, USO (University Prep, Sci-Tech, and Obama) was eliminated from the state playoffs with a 79-59 loss to Erie Cathedral Prep on March 10 in front of 1,200 fans at the Hammermill Center at Gannon University. They were led by Deandre Byrd and Dontae Forte who scored 21 and 17 points, each.

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

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