Obama Academy girls stifle Allderdice for another City League championship

Sunday, February 19, 2023 | 3:17 PM

Allderdice’s plan to outlast and tire out Obama Academy’s larger lineup sputtered at the same roadblock.

The Dragons’ attempts to reach the rim Sunday at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse during the City League girls basketball championship game were snuffed out by 5-foot-8 Eagles forward Kimaya Williams.

She finished with 12 points, 20 rebounds and four blocks as Obama Academy rolled to a 75-29 victory, earning its sixth City League title since the school opened in 2011-12.

“Honestly, I just watch where their eyes are going,” Williams said. “My thing was to get up as fast as possible because we know they like to shoot.”

It was the second straight season the Eagles beat Allderdice in the championship game.

The win meant a lot to Eagles coach Monique McCoy, a Penn Hills graduate who believed Obama would be able to quickly build into a strong program.

“For me, it says so much,” McCoy said. “I was an assistant at Schenley, and when Schenley turned into Obama, the newspaper said ‘Let’s see what they can do.’ They said let’s see what they can do. I took it as an insult because I knew the direction this team and school were going to go. We were going to make it to this plateau.”

Obama (17-4) also picked up its third win this season against the Dragons, with all three victories coming by 33 or more points. On Sunday, the Eagles limited Allderdice to nine points in the second half.

“They are tall, we are tiny,” Dragons coach Ellen Guillard said. “You start the game with a deficit at height. Try to make up with speed, and add in the element of being mostly freshmen and first time playing the (most) important game in their lives.”

The Eagles buried Allderdice (11-12) with long-range shooting. Taylor Phillips put the Eagles ahead for good by making a 3-pointer eight seconds into the game.

Phillips, who finished tied for a game high 22 points, made 5 of 9 3-point attempts. Teammate Ny’Asia Benton, who also scored 20 points, also made four treys. The Eagles shot 42.9% (9 of 21) on 3-pointers.

“The shots just felt good, so we kept shooting them,” Phillips said.

Phillips’ game-opening 3-pointer kicked off a 12-2 stretch to open the game.

Allderdice had a hard time protecting the ball. The Dragons committed 30 turnovers and only shot 3 of 11 in the first quarter. Bailey White led Allderdice with 10 points.

The Dragons made one run in the second quarter to cut the lead to 25-18 after a basket from Niki Sfanos. However, Obama closed the half of an 11-2 run that was capped by a Phillips 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Eagles led 36-20 at halftime and suffocated Allderdice’s offense in the second half.

“The leadership on this team has shown there is a standard,” McCoy said. “The standard is to work hard. You aren’t going to win every game, but we learn from our losses.”

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