Court Report: Obama's campaign is historical

Eagles have a chance to match

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The Obama Academy boys basketball team never will be considered on the same level as the 1976 Fifth Avenue squad, considered one of the greatest in Western Pennsylvania history.

But Obama has a chance to do something that no City League team has done since that particular Fifth Avenue squad.

Obama takes an undefeated 21-0 record into the City League playoffs, which start next week. The previous team to win a City League championship with a perfect record was Fifth Avenue in 1976.

"Hmmm. We didn't know that," said D.J. Porter, a senior guard-forward for Obama and the team's leading scorer. "I guess that adds a little to this."

Fifth Avenue was 10-0 before they defeated Allegheny, 75-54, in the 1976 City League title game before 2,670 at the Civic Arena. Fifth Avenue had some games canceled that season because of a teachers strike, but went on to win the PIAA championship.

Fifth Avenue featured Sam Clancy, who scored 25 points and grabbed 21 rebounds against Allegheny. Clancy remains one of the best players ever from Western Pennsylvania and went onto play at Pitt before playing in the NFL.

The Archers also had David "Puffy" Kennedy, Bill Clarke and Warner Macklin. Kennedy scored 20 points in the City title game and Macklin had 12 assists.

"We used to talk in the summer about how we could go undefeated, but I just used to say, 'Yeah, alright,'" Porter said.

Not even the great Schenley teams of 2006 and '07 with DeJuan Blair and D.J. Kennedy (Puffy Kennedy's son) went undefeated, but those teams played some tough games outside of the City League. The 2000 Schenley team took an undefeated record into the City title game, but lost to Peabody, 62-54.

The road to this City title won't be easy for Obama. The Eagles beat Allderdice by 68-65 earlier this season and defeated Perry by only 64-62 Monday.

Obama is thinking about the City championship -- and beyond. The Eagles hope to make some noise in the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs.

"We think we can play with anyone in the WPIAL," Porter said.

More perfect stuff

The New Castle boys and the Burrell girls are the only WPIAL teams that finished the regular season with undefeated records.

New Castle will try to win a third consecutive WPIAL title with an undefeated record. The Red Hurricanes last year became the first team to win two consecutive WPIAL championships with undefeated records.

The Burrell girls finished the regular season undefeated for the first time.

Unforgettable streak

With New Castle finishing the regular season undefeated, the Red Hurricanes also ran their section winning streak to 41 games. That's impressive, but it makes what Blackhawk did in the 1990s even more remarkable.

From 1990 to 1999, Blackhawk won a WPIAL record 111 consecutive section games. The Cougars crushed the previous record of 82 in a row by Wampum from 1954-59.

Blackhawk also won a WPIAL record 14 consecutive section titles under coach John Miller from 1990-2003.

Making their points

Summit Academy's 107-98 victory against Vincentian in WPIAL boys' basketball Monday was eye-opening because it's not often you see two high school teams combine for more than 200 points.

It's not known what the WPIAL record is for most points in a game by two teams, but the Summit Academy-Vincentian game was still 20 points away from a 2011 Class AAAA game where Norwin defeated Latrobe, 115-110, in overtime.

Two for 20

By a point, Central Valley seniors Seairra Barrett and Kiana Law became one of the greatest scoring tandems in WPIAL history.

Barrett and Law became one of the few WPIAL girls duos to average more than 20 points a game in the regular season. Barrett averaged 24.3 and Law finished right at 20.0, with 420 points in 21 games.

Over the past 30 seasons, there have been only three other duos in the WPIAL and one in the City League who averaged more than 20 a game in the regular season. In the WPIAL, Gina Naccarato (24.0) and Angie Scirotto (20.2) did it in 1993 while Ellwood City's Anne Malkowiak (26.7) and Doneen Aloi (20.1) did it in the 1987-88 season.

Aliquippa's Carrie Bordas and Mona Gaffney averaged 20 a game twice. In 1988-89, Bordas averaged 26.7 and Gaffney 20.3. In 1989-90, Bordas averaged 26.2 and Gaffney 21.0.

In the City League last year, Allderdice's Sierra Fordham averaged 21.5 and Sydnee Abernathy 20.0.

Check this out

* Lincoln Park's Maverick Rowan had his string of consecutive free throws snapped at 52 last Friday. It is not known what the WPIAL record is, but Rowan tied Laurel Highlands' Rob Kezmarsky, who made 52 in a row in the 1989-90 season.

* The Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic girls made the WPIAL playoffs this year for the 39th time, the most in WPIAL girls history.

* The Greensburg Central Catholic girls won their 26th section title, the second-most in WPIAL history behind North Catholic's 32.

* The California girls won a section title this year for only the second time in school history and the first time since 1982.

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