Holding Court: A changing of the guard in City League is on horizon

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Allderdice has swept the City League boys and girls basketball championships the past two seasons, but the Dragons might have to hand the broom to Obama Academy this season.

The City League regular season finished earlier this week and Obama took first place in the boys and girls divisions. The boys were 9-1 in City League play and 16-2 overall. The Obama girls were 8-2 in the City and 11-7 overall.

There are only six teams in the City League now, and the boys' playoffs started Thursday with two games. The girls' playoffs start today. Both Obama teams got byes to the semifinals next week.

The City League championship games are tentatively scheduled for Feb. 23 at Allderdice, but the site could change, depending on which teams are in the finals.

A few City League teams will also participate in the PIAA playoffs. For the boys, Obama, Brashear, Perry and Allderdice are vying for the Class AAAA spot in the PIAA tournament. The top AAAA team from the City League will play the WPIAL runner-up in the first round.

The City League will not have a representative in the PIAA Class AAA boys tournament, but Westinghouse has qualified in Class AA and will play the District 5 representative for the right to advance to the PIAA first round against the fifth-place team from the WPIAL.

In City League girls, either Obama, Brashear, Perry or Allderdice will play in the PIAA AAAA playoffs. There will not be a Class AA representative from the City League.

In Class AAA girls, Carrick and Westinghouse will participate in a regional tournament with teams from District 5 and 6. The winner will advance to the PIAA first round.

From behind the arc

• Not only did Lincoln Park freshman Maverick Rowan develop into one of the top scorers in the WPIAL this season (23.6 points per game), he also became one of the best shooters in Western Pennsylvania. Rowan had 65 3-pointers in the regular season.

• Highlands finished this season with 87 3-pointers as a team. A year ago, Highlands senior guard Micah Mason (now playing at Drake) had 88 3-pointers himself.

• New Castle senior guard Brandon Domenick has 187 3-pointers for his career. He recently broke the school record of 181, held by 1998 graduate Ed Pagley. Domenick is a Gannon University recruit.

• Jeannette's Ciara Gregory finished the regular season with 77 3-pointers. She shot 34 percent (77 of 224) from 3-point range.

Section 3 strength

When the WPIAL put the New Castle and Hampton boys in WPIAL Class AAAA Section 3 this year, many thought the WPIAL created a "super section."

At least during the regular season, Section 3 showed its strength. The non-section record of the eight teams in Section 3 was 54-9. Section 2 was 37-21, Section 4 38-26 and Section 1 37-32.

How strong was Section 3? Well, consider that Pine-Richland was 8-0 in non-section games, including wins against Lincoln Park, Central Valley and Blackhawk. But Pine-Richland (13-9) didn't qualify for the WPIAL playoffs. You can bet there have not been many teams in WPIAL basketball over the years that were undefeated in non-section games, but didn't get into the playoffs.

It should be interesting to see whether or not Section 3 shows its strength in the playoffs.

A forgettable game

This goes to show that no matter the talent of a player, they can still have a bad night.

Woodland Hills' Desiree Garland averages 15 points a game, but in a recent game against Penn Hills, she was 0 for 24 from the field.

Check this out

• The East Allegheny boys made the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 1996. The longest playoff drought in WPIAL boys basketball, however, still belongs to West Greene, which hasn't made the playoffs since 1992. West Greene ended the season on a 28-game losing streak.

• The West Greene girls are enjoying good times, though. West Greene is in the playoffs for the second year in a row and its 12-9 record is the program's best since 1999-2000.

• In his first year as the Ambridge boys coach, Mark Jula guided the Bridgers to a 13-8 record and a WPIAL playoff spot. Ambridge won only five games the previous two seasons, but former coach Joe Falletta was playing many young players. This is Jula's seventh coaching stop and his career record is now 480-311.

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Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com


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