Hampton, Luther prove too tall a task for Allderdice

| Saturday, March 8, 2014, 8:45 p.m.

Ryan Luther missed a large chunk of the first half during Saturday's PIAA Class AAAA first-round game with two fouls.

When the Hampton boys basketball team needed him the most, however, Luther was front and center.

Luther scored 16 points, several on key, fourth-quarter buckets, as the Talbots topped City League champion Allderdice, 58-43, at Obama Academy.

“I just tried to let the game come to me,” Luther said. “Get some easy baskets.”

Easy, sure.

At least he made them look that way.

A tumbling-to-the-ground putback and an alley-oop finish gave Hampton a 49-31 lead at 6 minutes, 15 seconds of the fourth quarter.

The Dragons got two 3-pointers from Javaughn Moultrie and appeared to have one final push, but Luther's three-point play extended Hampton's lead to 52-39 at 3:38.

There also was a decisive two-handed dunk with less than two minutes to go.

“Good players do that,” Allderdice coach Buddy Valinsky said. “That's why he's going to Pitt because the good players step up when it's time to step up.”

Hampton (23-4) will play McDowell in the second round of the PIAA playoffs Wednesday, site and time to be determined.

While Luther asserted himself offensively in the second half, scoring 12 of his points over the final 16 minutes, his best work may have been done on the defensive end.

Hampton frustrated Allderdice (19-6) by jumping between 3-2 and 1-3-1 zones, with Luther in the middle.

The result was the Dragons, who won the City League by upsetting previously undefeated Obama Academy two weeks ago, scoring more than 20 points below their season average.

Allderdice was trying to become only the second team since Schenley won a PIAA title in 2007 — the Dragons topped Chartiers Valley in 2011 — to win a state playoff game.

“We held them to 58 points. That's not a lot,” Valinsky said. “We just couldn't score.”

With Luther clogging the middle and flanked by 6-2 guard David Huber, as well as Luther's 6-foot-7 brother, Collin, few teams possess Hampton's length.

“High school teams don't always get to see that kind of size,” Hampton coach Joe Lafko said. “I think that can, at times, give some teams some problems.”

Huber added 15 points. Joey Lafko scored nine, and Collin Luther added eight. Ryan Luther pulled down 11 rebounds.

Allderdice got 16 points from Ramon Creighton and eight from Moultrie.

Allderdice had a 9-8 lead early following a 3-pointer from Creighton, the sixth time in as many baskets the lead changed hands.

But Hampton answered with a 9-0 run in the first quarter to grab a 17-13 lead after the first eight minutes.

Huber had nine first-quarter points, making three 3-pointers.

The second quarter featured all of five field goals, though Hampton used a 10-2 run — with the Luthers out for most of it because of foul trouble — to take a 31-19 lead at the break.

“I told my team at halftime that I was very proud of the bench play,” Lafko said. “We extended a lead when we had Ryan and Collin out in the first half. I thought that was a big part of the game.”

Allderdice cut the deficit to 31-25 early in the third, but Ryan Luther's three-point play and a 3-pointer from Jack Obringer, stationed deep in the left corner, kept the Talbots' lead around 12 most of the quarter.

That's when Hampton's star player — and its length — took over.

“They probably haven't seen that kind of length,” Huber said. “We have some of the most length in the WPIAL, so we knew coming in that would give them trouble.

“We just tried to use that to our advantage.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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