Gorman: Westinghouse, Wilkinsburg aiming for acceptance
Westinghouse and Wilkinsburg played for keeps Saturday, then traded handshakes for hugs and posed together for pictures.
That scene at the Sto-Rox tip-off tournament touched not only Bulldogs coach Phyllis Jones but her counterpart, Wilfred Dennis.
“It was spontaneous and it was nice to see that the girls were willing to do it on both ends,” said Jones, the legendary Westinghouse girls basketball coach. “You don't always get that agreement on both ends. It's almost like we're like family.”
Next year, they will be.
When Wilkinsburg closes at the end of the school year, its students are scheduled to attend Westinghouse next fall.
Jones dealt with a similar scenario when Peabody closed in 2011 but hopes the Tigers' seven underclassmen join her team. So she was extra careful not to be critical when coaching against them in a 43-24 Westinghouse victory.
“I was a little cautious of my wording as far as their players, knowing that I may be coaching them,” said Jones, who taught some of the Tigers' parents at Westinghouse. “You try to stay positive all the way around.”
Dennis, a 1969 Westinghouse alum, hopes their games help the transition. The teams play again Saturday at Westinghouse, then Dec. 19 at Wilkinsburg.
“A lot of people were saying Wilkinsburg going to Westinghouse is going to be a bad scenario, that the kids are going to be fighting 24/7,” Dennis said. “Our kids practice and play against each other. I don't think there's going to be a lot of problems. It looks good for their future, if both teams can bring it all together.”
So far, so good for two teams aiming for acceptance.