East Xtra: Allderdice tandem creating a stir in basketball
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Even with the best record in the City League and the two top scorers in the league, Allderdice girls basketball coach Dave Walchesky cannot help but think how dangerous his team could be if his two top players click at the same time.
It does not always happen, but when senior guard Sydnee Abernathy and junior guard Sierra Fordham are "on" ... look out!
Through 13 games the duo were the top two scorers in the City League. Fordham was averaging 22.6 points per game and Abernathy was right behind her averaging 22 points per game. That would rank them seventh and eighth overall throughout the district (including WPIAL teams).
Abernathy and Fordham have been taking turns picking up the slack and every once in a while their shots are both falling and the numbers are staggering.
"When Sydnee and I both click, we usually win," Fordham said. "If we are both on and if we make our shots, it is usually a done deal."
The two guards combined to score all 32 of Allderdice's first-half points against Indiana. Against Brashear Fordham scored 24 and Abernathy was right behind with 18. Those are considerable numbers considering they held Brashear to 26 total points.
Against Quaker Valley Abernathy and Fordham combined to match their opponents total output of 43 points.
And then there was the Carrick game.
Carrick was riding a four-game winning streak, including wins against City League playoff contenders Obama Academy and Westinghouse.
Against the Raiders Fordham went off for a season-high 44 points and Abernathy was not far behind, scoring 32. The combined 76 points scored by the guard tandem is incredibly rare in high school basketball.
"That was as close as to what I could call them both being on target together," Walchesky said.
Abernathy and Fordham are not putting these numbers up against soft competition. They have played against more WPIAL schools (11) than City League schools (6) thus far.
The high-scoring tandem is a big reason Allderdice is 9-7 overall and 5-1 and in first place in the City League.
"They are both excellent shooters and they can both drive," Walchesky said. "Sydnee is more of a transition player, she will make plays that make the crowd go 'wow.' Sierra is just a pure shooter and she can dribble and drive and pull up where Sydnee would take it to the basket."
This could have been a down season for the Dragons, the two-time defending City League champions. Walchesky had to replace four starters.
But Abernathy picked up her scoring pace after averaging 12 points per game and Fordham took advantage of her opportunity. She had to wait patiently the past two seasons as Allderdice was loaded with two and three-year starters who were juniors and seniors.
This year Fordham knew it was her chance.
"Last year I really thought I was going to get more playing time," Fordham said. "I knew I had the ability last year to do what I am doing this year. It is really nice that I have a chance to showcase my talent and ability right now."
Allderdice owns wins against WPIAL programs Wilkinsburg, North Hills, Montour and Quaker Valley. The WPIAL teams generally try to contain Abernathy and Fordham with man-to-man defense and having their best defenders try to shut them down.
In the City League the Dragons are used to seeing numerous "junk" zone defenses aimed at containing the guard tandem.
Allderdice went 16-0 and 14-0 in the City League the past two seasons. They were able to extend their City League winning streak to 35 games before losing to Westinghouse, 62-59, on Jan. 11. The Dragons have now won their past three City League games heading into their meeting at Obama Academy Friday.
If Abernathy and Fordham consistently begin clicking at the same time, Allderdice can find themselves in the midst of another long winning streak.
First Published January 31, 2013 12:00 am