East Xtra: Allderdice challenges in City League

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With three sets of identical twin brothers on its roster this season, the Taylor Allderdice boys basketball team continues to gain attention -- even at the national level.

"Twinsanity" is what Dragons coach Buddy Valinsky dubbed the phenomenon early this year when discussing 6-foot-2 seniors Davaughn and Javaughn Moultrie, 5-9 juniors Keith and Kenny Robinson and 6-1 sophomores Jim and Tim Jackson.

A variety of local and national media outlets quickly jumped on the sports oddity, and the team even shot a segment last week for NBC's Today Show that was set to air this morning.

"The nice thing about the team this year has been the publicity we've received with our identical twins, but there's a lot more to this team," said Valinsky, a 1978 Allderdice graduate who coached the Dragons from 2001-06 before returning last season for a second coaching stint.

"This is a complete team. Every night we have guys stepping up and contributing. There's a lot of talent with this group."

Allderdice has a 13-4 overall record (before a non-league game against Bethel Park Wednesday) and is ranked No. 2 in the City League by the Post-Gazette. Posting a 5-2 league record, the Dragons sit two games behind undefeated Obama Academy (17-0, 7-0) in the league standings.

"When we shoot well, we're a good team," Valinsky said. "There have been times this season when we were able to make 10 to 12 3-pointers in a game.

"When we're not shooting well, we've still been able to play good team defense. We may not be tall, but we're very quick. These kids know scoring is fun, but they also know defense wins you championships and that we have to stop people."

Valinsky's group opened its schedule winning eight of its first 10 games. Besides losing non-league games to Fox Chapel Area and Indiana as well as a 68-65 league defeat to Obama Academy on Jan. 14, Allderdice did register some impressive non-league victories against WPIAL opponents, such as Woodland Hills, Summit Academy, Peters Township, Blackhawk, South Fayette and West Allegheny.

"We've had a tough schedule," Valinsky said. "Those [non-league] games gave us a good taste of some of the better teams in Quad-A. Really, the only teams we haven't seen have been Hampton and New Castle.

"Our [non-league] games allowed us to gain a lot of confidence. We played some good-caliber teams. We know we can play with almost anyone."

Ramon Creighton, a 6-2 sophomore and Kiski School transfer, has been running the point for the Dragons, while both sets of Moultries and Jacksons as well as 6-4 junior Alex Bell have been key starters this season.

Javaughn Moultrie has been averaging 17 points, while Creighton and Jim Jackson have each added a steady 14 points.

"The key for us has been that it hasn't been one or two people doing everything," Valinsky said. "We have multiple kids scoring in double figures every night and we're averaging close to 70 points a game."

Caleb Stotz, a 6-0 senior, along with 5-10 senior Jordan Owens, 6-3 sophomore Jordan Rawls, 6-7 sophomore Tim Pugh and Kenny Robinson have added depth off the Dragons bench.

"This is an enjoyable group to coach," Valinsky said. "All these kids work very hard. We have kids on the bench who may not play a lot of minutes, but I know they could be playing a lot for other teams.

"We have a phenomenal group of sophomores who will be here for the next few years, so it's not like the cupboard is going to be bare after this year."

After splitting games against Perry and Brashear earlier this week, Allderdice will travel to Obama Academy Friday night to face the Eagles for a second time. The Dragons will finish its league schedule against Westinghouse on Monday and Carrick on Tuesday.

"This week is going to be a fun and tough week," said Valinsky, whose team lost to Perry in the quarterfinals of the City League playoffs last season. "We missed some games last week because of school being closed, so the kids are itching to play. My guys are rested and ready to play.

"If anything, we have to be playing our best basketball at this point in the season."

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