In City League title game, Obama Academy girls look for 3rd win of season over Allderdice

Friday, February 18, 2022 | 8:06 PM

Ellen (Hall) Guillard pulled herself out of retirement to help toughen up the Allderdice girls basketball team.

Lacking size — the Dragon’s tallest player is 5-foot-7 — Guillard would routinely get on the blocks in practice to help her team practice rebounding.

Guillard, in her day, was a 6-foot forward who scored 1,000 points at Albert Gallatin and Duquesne University before playing professionally in England. Allderdice learned how to rebound collectively and scrapped its way to the City League championship game at 2 p.m. Sunday at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center.

Guillard enjoyed having some time back under the basket.

“It’s fun. It’s like a therapy session,” Guillard said. “I can take some stress out. I want the girls to know I don’t suck and they should listen to what I have to say.”

The Dragons, who are 11-6 have won three of the past four City League crowns, will meet Obama Academy (13-5) in the finals for the sixth time in the past nine years. The Purple Eagles beat Allderdice twice during the regular season, by six and 10 points.

Obama Academy also ran the table in the City League regular season, winning all nine of its city league games. Purple Eagles coach Monique McCoy doesn’t expect the championship game to go the same way.

“Allderdice drives the ball exceptionally well, and they are able to not only go inside but outside with the 3-pointer,” McCoy said. “They do that exceptionally well.”

One of the Dragons’ most ferocious rebounders is Zaniya Murray, all 5-2 of her. The guard doesn’t back down from anyone, including Guillard.

“She’s always telling me in practice, ‘Coach, I’m going to dunk on you,’” Guillard said. “She may be 5-2, but she walks around with the mentality of a 7-foot player. She usually guards the opponents’ biggest player in games.”

Obama Academy has plenty of wrinkles that could give the Dragons problems. Samaree Perkins, who scored her 1,000th point in the Purple Eagles’ 56-19 victory over Brashear in the semifinals, averages nearly 16 points per game. But McCoy is most proud of how Obama Academy’s players have settled into their roles.

Forward Ny’Asia Benson and Taylor Woodruff have also played major roles for the Purple Eagles.

“The strong point for us this year is not only have we been able to use Samaree Perkins, but we’ve had other players stepping up and contributing,” McCoy said.

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