ShareThis Page

City League basketball preview: Westinghouse teams out to defend titles

| Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, 10:00 p.m.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Longtime head coach Phyllis Jones looks over her team during practice for the Westinghouse girls basketball team on Tuesday, December 3, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Tiarra Gordon sizes up a shot during practice for the Westinghouse girls basketball team on Tuesday, December 3, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Brittany Jackson makes a layup during practice for the Westinghouse girls basketball team on Tuesday, December 3, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Jasmine Myers takes a short jump shot during practice for the Westinghouse basketball team Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Jasmine Myers takes position in the paint during practice for the Westinghouse girls basketball team on Tuesday, December 3, 2013.

Westinghouse boys basketball coach Tariq Francis can't promise another City League championship this season, but he can provide assurance that his team will put in plenty of hard work.

Entering this season on the heels of a playoff title run after finishing third in the regular-season standings, Westinghouse returns just one player (sophomore guard Khalil Morris) from its championship squad.

But that doesn't mean the third-year Bulldog coach's squad won't work just as hard.

“We talk about last year, and the thing about something special is it's just that special,” Francis said. “It's hard to duplicate winning the lottery. Our thing is just instilling the same attitude and work ethic in the guys. I don't know if we'll see the numbers or city championship, but we're going to work them in practice, play the games, teach them, coach them. … I think we're going to see that growth.”

With just one returning player, it goes without saying that Westinghouse will feature virtually an entirely fresh set of faces in the 2013-14 campaign.

“Obviously, we wish we had more guys back to make it an easier transition,” Francis said. “But we're not going to let the guys off the hook.”

Two players the Bulldogs will look to for help are freshman guard Jahi Ogeoani and 6-foot-6 senior forward Willie James III, a transfer from Penn Hills, who will be the focal point of the offense.

“We're going to put the ball in his hands,” Francis said. “Our offense is going to run through him. He's going to shoulder the team being one of our only seniors.”

Westinghouse girls

The Westinghouse girls found themselves in familiar territory last season, playing in a 26th consecutive City championship game and claiming a 10th league title in that span.

“It was very special, it really was,” coach Phyllis Jones said of the school's two basketball teams earning titles. “It brought the community together. That's what we were excited about, how the community came together. It was really nice to see.”

Westinghouse features plenty of returning talent, most notably seniors Jasmine Myers, Brittany Jackson and Tiarra Gordon.

Jones said determination and defense keyed her team's surge to the championship last season, and hopes it gives her group an increased sense of confidence in 2013-14.

“We came along strong during the postseason, and I hope it carries over to the beginning of this season,” Jones said.

“(The playoff run showed) that they're able to do what they want to do.”

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.