Allderdice boys, girls hope to maintain spots atop City League
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The Buddy system is back at Allderdice.
Buddy Valinsky is about to embark on his second tenure as Dragons head boys basketball coach. An alumnus and teacher at Allderdice who was a star guard on the 1978 Dragons team that advanced to the PIAA semifinals, Valinsky coached them from 2001-2007.
Just like his ‘78 Allderdice team that had its postseason run ended by Schenley, Valinsky had some pretty good teams in the middle of this past decade that were blocked from winning City League titles by the likes of future NBA players DeJuan Blair and D.J. Kennedy at Schenley.
Now, he takes over a three-time defending City League champion — and he won't have to worry about Schenley. Schenley's school was closed in 2011.
“Schenley won't beat me this year,” Valinsky said with a laugh.
Allderdice has won 19 of its past 20 games against City League opponents, but much of last season's team graduated. Justin Dobbs (Grambling) and Ben Mickens (IUP) are playing in college, leaving senior point guard Cornelius Raye as the lone returning starter.
But the Dragons have a “virtual” returning starter in senior forward Jordan Smith, a Brashear transfer. Allderdice also has 6-6 center Matt Fidel and 6-3 senior forward Javaughn Moultrie.
Moultrie had a team-high 15 points off the bench in the City League championship game victory last season. His twin brother, Davaughn, also is a 6-3 forward on the team. Another projected starter is 6-2 junior Lavelle Segers, who is new to high school basketball.
“He's raw, but he's probably our most athletic kid,” Valinsky said.
Despite the attrition of last year's seniors, Valinsky sees enough depth on the roster that he envisions going nine or 10 deep.
Girls out for third straight title
Allderdice hasn't lost a girls basketball game — regular season or playoffs — to a City League opponent in 33 months.
Thirty-five wins and counting. Stay the course, right? Easier said than done, coach Dave Walchesky said. The Dragons lost two all-league talents to graduation and another who is playing college basketball this season.
“We're taking a fresh approach,” Walchesky said, “because we really don't know what to expect.”
Janay Bottoms and DaJai Beasley combined to score 23.4 points per game last season as seniors. Bottoms is playing at West Liberty and Lanise Saunders at Gannon.
Senior guard Sydnee Abernathy and junior guard Sierra Fordham are Allderdice's most experienced returning players. Senior guard/forward Brandy Pickett is also entering her third season of varsity basketball, and Walchesky said she had a productive offseason.
Junior guard Erin Yapsuga is projected to be in the starting lineup, and senior forwards Natalie Lamanna and Bre'Ana Garcia-Dixon are also expected to be significant contributors.
“Last year, we were wide open up-and-down the court and ran,” Walchesky said. “This year, hopefully we're more about controlling the ball a little more with a much more contained offensive scheme.”
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.
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