Supporting players shine as Obama rolls past 'Dice
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Calique Jones watched the Obama Academy boys basketball team's leading scorer, D.J. Porter, miss shot after shot against Allderdice on Friday afternoon and figured he would have to shoulder a bit more of the responsibility.
Despite averaging more than 24 points, Porter finished the first half with two.
Jones, meanwhile, was one of three players other than Porter to reach double figures during the Eagles' 61-50 win.
“Everybody on the team has to produce,” said Jones, who had a team-high 15 points. “When D.J.'s off, another man has to step up.”
Alan Hord added 14 points, and Marcus Johnson had 13 off the bench as Obama Academy (18-0, 8-0) secured at least a share of the regular season City League title.
Porter finished with eight points and 13 rebounds.
Allderdice (14-5, 5-3) had won five of six, including an 83-66 victory over Bethel Park on Wednesday. But Obama Academy pulled away with a 9-2 run midway through the third period, a spurt capped by a leaning basket from Porter.
Ramon Creighton scored a game-high 22 points for Allderdice. James Jackson added 15 points and three steals.
“We didn't shoot it well,” Allderdice coach Buddy Valinsky said. “We shot 31 percent. When we shoot it well, we get up and teams have to catch us.”
Allderdice jumped out to a 9-2 lead after a Creighton 3-pointer. But the Eagles answered with a 9-2 run of their own, tying it at 11 after Hord's floater in the lane with 26 seconds left in the first.
Johnson's jumper at 6:20 of the second gave Obama Academy a 15-11 lead it did not relinquish. He later delivered the game's biggest highlight with a one-handed dunk at 3:43 for a 22-17 advantage.
After another Creighton 3-pointer, Porter made a pair of free throws to ignite the Eagles' pivotal run, and the lead grew to 43-31 after a three-point play from James Taylor-Lane with 1:23 left in the third.
“We didn't hit the knockout punch early enough,” Valinsky said. “When they struggled and didn't shoot it well, we needed to get up a handful and let them catch up to us.”
Creighton's fourth 3-pointer of the game cut the deficit to seven with 1:53 left in the fourth quarter, but Jones knocked down a pair of free throws a minute later to push the Eagles' lead back to nine.
Obama Academy closes the regular season with games Monday and Tuesday at Perry and home against Westinghouse.
With an off night from its leader, perhaps this was the wake-up call Obama Academy needed.
“They have to understand that not only are they playing against a team, but they're playing a record that shows you're a good team,” Eagles coach Nate Lofton said. “You have to bring a lot of energy.”
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
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