Allderdice seizes City League title with 55-54 win against Obama
February 23, 2014 12:13 AM
Pam Panchak / Post-Gazette
Allderdice's Javaughn Moultrie (11) and Alex Bell (34) celebrate after beating Obama Academy in the City League boys basketball championship at Obama Academy.
By Mike White / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Allderdice waited. The Dragons played Obama Academy twice in the regular season, but waited until the City League championship to spring a new defense on the Eagles.
Then, Allderdice waited until the final buzzer to spring something totally new on Obama.
Perfection? Forget it. History? That will have to wait, unless you count the personal history of Allderdice coach Buddy Valinsky.
Allderdice edged Obama, 55-54, in a thrilling City League title game Saturday afternoon at Obama in East Liberty. Alex Bell made 1 of 2 free throws with 48.2 seconds left to provide the winning point, and Obama missed three good shots in the final 20 seconds.
It was the first loss this season for Obama, and the Eagles finished 22-1. Obama was trying to become the first team to win a City League championship with a perfect record since a great Fifth Avenue team in 1976.
"But I've been waiting a long time for this -- 36 years," Valinsky said. "I couldn't get to the championship game when I was a senior [at Allderdice] in 1978."
And Valinsky is in the second year of his second stint as Allderdice's coach (seven years total).
"We made it to the final in 2006, but we got smashed by DeJuan Blair and that NBA team at Schenley," Valinsky said. "And to win it on Obama's home court. Unbelievable? Magnificent? Could you call it that?"
As for the new defense that Allderdice (19-5) played, it was a junk defense designed to slow down Obama's D.J. Porter, a 6-foot-5 senior who was averaging 22.5 points.
The defense was a cross between a diamond-and-one and a 3-1 chaser.
Allderdice's DaVaughn Moultrie, a longtime AAU teammate of Porter, guarded Obama's star most of the game while the other four players were in a zone.
Porter got only eight shots and scored 11 points. James Taylor-Lane led Obama with 13 points and Calique Jones added 12.
"That defense really helped us," said Moultrie, who also scored 12 points.
Allderdice -- or James Jackson, in particular -- started the game with energy. Jackson scored Allderdice's first 17 points in the first four minutes as the Dragons took a 17-6 lead. Jackson, who finished with 23, had four 3-pointers in the first four minutes.
Allderdice's biggest lead was 26-10, but Obama came back and took a 34-32 lead in the third quarter.
The game was close the rest of the way, but Allderdice went on an 8-0 run to open a 52-46 lead in the fourth quarter. But the Dragons had turnovers on four consecutive possessions to let Obama come back and tie it at 52-52 with 2:04 left.
The teams traded baskets before Bell was fouled on a rebound with 48.2 seconds left. After his free throw, Obama's Marcus Johnson had his 6-footer blocked, but Obama got the rebound. After a timeout, Alan Hord and Johnson missed shots before Allderdice got the ball and the victory.
"This is hard and our guys are taking it extra hard because you first go 22-0 and then you're not even in the state playoffs," Obama coach Nate Lofton said.
Only Allderdice advances from the City League to the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs.
"I'd rather not be undefeated than lose in the championship," Moultrie said.
Mike White: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh.
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