The Dribbler: Pre 'net, Dribbler got duped in '70s

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By now you've heard the story of the ex-Notre Dame football star who was involved in an elaborate hoax in which he was duped to believe his online girlfriend was real, but in fact wasn't.

For The Dribbler, this brought back horrible memories.

Back in the 1970s -- long before the Internet -- The Dribbler became pen pals with what he thought was a young lady from Portland, Ore., named Billie. The two had many common interests. Each had an immeasurable love for basketball, were big fans of the Grateful Dead and grew up in Southern California.

But The Dribbler and Billie had never met or spoken on the phone. The Dribbler attempted to set up meetings on multiple occasions with the girl he thought was his soul mate, but plans always fell through.

One day, The Dribbler received a phone call from a well-known man in Portland -- then-NBA star Bill Walton. Bill, or as The Dribbler had known him, Billie, admitted to The Dribbler that he had deceived him by developing a pseudo-relationship just to provide entertainment for Walton and his teammates.

Heartbroken and angry, The Dribbler needed plenty of therapy to return to his normal self.

Years later, The Dribbler met the person who one day became Mrs. Dribbler. Life has been great since.

As far as his WPIAL picks go, The Dribbler has been good, but not great. He was 40-24 (.622) heading into Wednesday's games.

Here are his thoughts on this week's must-see games.

Top boys games

Thomas Jefferson at Elizabeth Forward, 7:30 p.m. today -- Former McKeesport girls coach Gerald "Puddin" Grayson has Elizabeth Forward playing as smooth as pudding in his first season. A huge reason has been JaQuan Davidson, who averages 23 points per game and has helped the Warriors win seven of their past eight games. Knocking off Class AAA Section 4 leader Thomas Jefferson would be an upset and signature win. Winner: Elizabeth Forward.

North Allegheny at Seneca Valley, 7:30 p.m. today -- Frigid temperatures have been a big story this week, but back in December, North Allegheny made it rain on Seneca Valley by pouring in 14 3-pointers in a 55-49 win. Can North Allegheny do it again? Sure. Will they? No. The Dribbler thinks the Raiders defense will be better this time. Winner: Seneca Valley.

North Catholic at Vincentian Academy, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday -- Vincentian Academy has been breezing through the regular season, going 13-0 vs. WPIAL opponents with an average margin of victory of 27 points. The top-ranked Royals won at North Catholic by 12 earlier this month, so expect another double-digit win. Winner: Vincentian Academy.

Other top boys games

(Home team in all CAPS) CENTRAL CATHOLIC over McKeesport (7:30 p.m. today); Chartiers Valley over MONTOUR (7:30 p.m. today); Upper St. Clair over Gateway (5 p.m. Sunday, PBC Classic at La Roche); CENTRAL VALLEY over Beaver (7:30 p.m. Tuesday).

Top girls games

Bethel Park at Mt. Lebanon, 7:30 p.m. Monday -- It's No. 1 vs. 2 in Class AAAA. Bethel Park ended an 11-game losing streak against Mt. Lebanon by edging the Blue Devils by six Jan. 3. Here's an interesting stat: Mt. Lebanon has not lost to the same team twice in a season since 2006-07. That streak will live on. Winner: Mt. Lebanon.

Hempfield at Penn-Trafford, 6 p.m. Tuesday -- Penn-Trafford won the Class AAAA Section 1 title the past two seasons, but a Hempfield victory would give the Spartans a season sweep of the Warriors and two-game cushion on top of the standings with just three section games remaining. Penn-Trafford hasn't lost to Hempfield at home in four years and has one of the best defenses in Class AAAA. Winner: Penn-Trafford.

Mt. Lebanon at Chartiers Valley, 7:30 p.m. Thursday -- The Dribbler just finds it so hard to pick against Mt. Lebanon this time of year. Here's another Mt. Lebanon factoid: The Blue Devils are 153-18 dating to the 2007-08 season, earning at least a split of the section title all of those seasons. Another one is on the horizon after two gigantic wins. Winner: Mt. Lebanon

Other top girls games

(Home team in all CAPS) Gateway over PLUM (6 p.m. today); Central Valley over BEAVER (1:30 p.m. Saturday); McGUFFEY over Charleroi (7:30 p.m. Monday); Hampton over MARS (7:30 p.m. Thursday).



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