City League champion Allderdice defeats Canon-McMillan in overtime
Saturday, March 9, 2019 | 5:47 PM
Canon-McMillan chose to chase Allderdice’s guards around the court, so the Dragons turned instead to their 6-foot-7 center with a scorer’s touch.
That’s a versatility few teams have.
Capitalizing on his size advantage in the paint, Allderdice senior Dalen Dugger scored 27 points, including two free throws late in overtime, as the City League champions defeated Canon-Mac, 61-58, Saturday in a PIAA Class 6A first-round game at Mt. Lebanon.
The Dragons’ two star guards, Dartmouth recruit Jackson Blaufeld and Slippery Rock recruit Bobby Clifford, combined for 15 points.
“We knew that we could be in trouble with the inside game, but you pick your poison,” Canon-McMillan coach Rick Bell said. “The big kid hurt us, but I wasn’t going to let the kids that were averaging 20 points a game beat us. We tried to do some things (to stop Dugger), but our tallest guy is 6-3. He just went up over top of him.
“But we still had our chances to win the game.”
Canon-McMillan had led 53-50 with 65 seconds left in regulation, and later had a chance to tie in overtime as two desperation 3-pointers missed at the buzzer.
Dugger saw junior varsity minutes as a sophomore but didn’t play basketball as a junior. His presence in the middle (alongside 6-5 senior Terrell Childs) makes Allderdice a tough matchup for shorter teams.
“I have a 6-7 kid who can play down low,” Allderdice coach Buddy Valinsky said. “That’s the difference from some of the other WPIAL teams. They don’t have that down-low scoring. He’s phenomenal.”
The win advances Allderdice (22-5) to face WPIAL champion Mt. Lebanon (23-3) on Wednesday. A site and time was not announced. The two teams already met once this season, a 52-50 Mt. Lebanon victory on Feb. 9.
The Dragons on average outscored opponents by more than 20 points this season, but they’ve struggled in a few close losses, so Saturday’s three-point win was a boost of sorts.
“That was important,” Valinsky said. “Most of our victories have been by double digits. So I think for our team, it was really a good victory in that aspect — the fact that we won a close one.”
Neither team had a fourth-quarter lead larger than three points.
Canon-McMillan made a dozen 3s, including six by Ethan Beachy, who led with 20 points. Luke Palma added 12 points.
With the Big Macs ahead 53-50, Allderdice’s Terrell Childs grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the put-back with 1:05 left in the fourth. The Dragons then forced a 53-53 tie on a free throw by Clifford with 32 seconds left.
The Big Macs then spread the floor and worked for the final shot of regulation but were called for a travel with 7.3 seconds left.
In overtime, Allderdice scored the first four points on a basket by Clifford and two free throws by Josphat Mikogosi to lead 57-53, before a pull-up jumper by Canon-Mac’s Louis Waller cut the deficit back to two.
After Dugger made two free throws to lead 59-55 with 23 seconds left, Beachy made his sixth and final 3-pointer for the Big Macs with 16 seconds left.
Clifford added two free throws in the final 12 seconds. Clifford finished with 11 points. Blaufeld scored only four facing a box-and-one.
“Sometimes two teams play really well,” Valinsky said. “We had a game plan to get inside. We did. They had a game plan to dribble, drive and shoot. They did. Hats off to both coaches because I think both game plans worked. It was a matter of one shot and one free throw.”
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .