Allderdice boys set sights on seventh straight City League basketball title

Friday, February 14, 2020 | 5:11 PM

Taking over for a six-time champion usually isn’t an easy task.

But Allderdice’s Devin Crummie relished the chance to take over the Dragons’ successful program after former coach Buddy Valinksy moved on to Norwin.

“It’s been a great first year here at Allderdice,” Crummie said. “It’s a great place, and the community has welcomed me. Buddy Valinsky left me guys with a great basketball IQ, really good character guys.”

The Dragons (18-5) will try for their seventh straight City League crown at 2 p.m. Saturday at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center.

That game will be preceded by the girls championship game at noon between Allderdice and Westinghouse.

The male Dragons punched their ticket to the title game with an 89-54 victory over Westinghouse. Obama Academy (13-8) defeated Brashear, 57-48, in the semifinal round.

Tony Henderson scored 20 against the Bulldogs and leads Allderdice with 17.2 points per game.

“Tony’s a good, all-around player,” Crummie said. “He can handle the ball and shoot. He’s a great young man and a great student.”

Rob Jones, Blake Haber, Sean Graves and Josphat Mukogosi round out the Dragons starting five.

Obama coach Devas Simmons also like the character his players have developed.

“These players support each other through the ups and downs,” Simmons said. “I enjoy watching the young kids grow into men.”

Simmons will be leading the Eagles into their fourth title game during his seven-year tenure. Defense has been the Obama calling card. The Eagles held the City’s leading scorer, Cheron Carrington, to nine points in the semifinals.

“We know Allderdice is a tough opponent,” Simmons said. “We have to be strong and diligent.”

Averaging a double-double is 6-foot-4 senior Sean Snead. Other starters include Natel Blessit, Dashon Cruse, Noah Butts and exciting 5-6 freshman Tariq Francis.

Girls: Allderdice vs. Westinghouse, Noon

The motto of the girls title game might be “Seniors Rule!”

Allderdice (21-2) has four senior starters and Westinghouse (15-5) rotates six seniors on the floor.

Allderdice’s senior success was predicted several years back by veteran Westinghouse coach Phyllis Jones.

“I remember watching these girls play at Colfax (Middle School), and they have proven they can play,” Jones said. “You can’t take anything away from them.”

Meanwhile, Dragons coach Ellen Guillard cites experience as a factor toward her team’s rise to the City title game.

“When we were juniors and sophomores, we lost some close games because we were young,” Guillard said. “But I told them now that’s no longer an excuse and our play is more consistent.”

Both schools have won their share of City titles.

Allderdice will be seeking its 15th City championship since it first brought the gold back to Squirrel Hill in 1974. The Dragons reached Saturday’s game by routing Carrick, 85-14, in the semifinals.

Westinghouse has won 20 titles — 18 during Jones’ 30-year tenure. The Bulldogs once had a streak of 27 straight title game appearances.

Khamille Andrews, a 6-1 senior, led the Bulldogs with 11 points in the win over Obama.

Allderdice has three players who have eclipsed the career 1,000-point mark this season in Emma White, Sophia North and Niagara University recruit Brooklyn Jones.

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