Westinghouse sweeps City League basketball championships
The City League basketball championships came home.
To the 'House.
Westinghouse's boys and girls teams won City League championships Saturday afternoon at Obama Academy in East Liberty. The Bulldogs boys opened the championship game doubleheader with a 61-52 win over Perry; the Westinghouse girls followed with a 54-42 win over Allderdice.
“It's a ‘House party, baby,” said senior guard Aaron Lyons, who had 13 of his 15 points in the second half as the Bulldogs boys pulled away after being tied at halftime.
“We both worked so hard to get here, and we both won.”
For the girls, getting to the City title game was nothing new — it was their 26th consecutive appearance and 24th under coach Phyllis Jones. This was their 10th championship in that stretch, the first since 2009.
But this season was different because the Bulldogs girls (16-9) get to share it with the boys. The Westinghouse boys (15-8) won the title for the first time since 1998 and only the second time in the past 41 years.
“Coach Jones is a legend,” Westinghouse second-year boys coach Tariq Francis said. “For you to even mention us and her in the same breath, I'm honored. So the goal is just to learn from them.
“It's a family — it's not a competition — you're not trying to meet the standard — it's more like a son trying to make their mother happy.”
Defense runs in the family. The No. 2 seed Bulldogs girls limited the No. 4 Dragons (12-13) to five first-half field goals in building a 15-point halftime lead. Westinghouse blitzed Allderdice early, leading, 15-6, at the end of the first quarter.
“That was our key — to just come out right away and get it going and take control of the game,” Bulldogs junior guard Jasmine Myers said.
Jasmine Myers had 23 points and Brittany Jackson added 18 for Westinghouse.
Sierra Fordham and Sydnee Abernathy combined to average 41.5 points during the regular season for Allderdice, which had won the previous two City League titles. The pair had a total of only 18 points through three quarters, although big fourth quarters ended with Fordham totaling 16 and Abernathy with 13.
The No. 2-seed Westinghouse boys won for the sixth time in their past seven games on the strength of a third-quarter run.
The Bulldogs led most of the first half, but the Commodores' Shakeem Cox had eight of his game-high 19 points in a span of 1:53 of the second quarter in which a 10-0 Perry run gave it a 23-20 lead.
The game was tied at halftime, but Lyons converted Perry's first possession of the second half into an easy layup off a steal.
The Bulldogs also forced a turnover on the Commodores' next possession, taking a lead they would never relinquish.
“We even had a set play coming out of halftime ready to go for one of our shooters,” Perry coach Marco Corona said. “And from that point on it was just, ‘Oh my goodness, really?'
“It's just one of them days.”
No. 4 Perry (12-13) clawed to within eight with the ball in the final minute but could get no closer. As the final horn sounded, Westinghouse's players stormed the court.
“This means the world, it means everything to me,” said Bulldogs senior Shaquan Johnson, who had 10 of his team-high 18 points in the first quarter. “I love my team today.
“When our backs are against the wall, that's how we always play our best.”
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.