Mike White | 12:20 p.m., Friday, Feb. 27
The WPIAL championships are tonight at tomorrow at Duquesne University's Palumbo Center, but let's look ahead a litlte to the PIAA playoffs. A big question is how will the City League do?
On the boys' side, the four City League qualifiers are Allderdice and Schenley in Class AAAA, and Perry and Oliver in AAA. Perry won the City League title with a 61-35 blowout of Allderdice Thursday. It says here that at least one of these teams could make some noise in the PIAA tournament.
A key for City League teams will be shooting, and how well they take care of the basketball. The City League championship Thursday between Allderdice and Perry was filled with horrible shooting and poor ballhandling and passing But both of the teams certainly have some talent to make an impact in the PIAA playoffs.
"As long as we play good defense, I like our chacnes against anybody," said Perry coach Marco Corona. "i think we have enough athleticisim and enough on the offensive end, I think to contend with anybody. We did a good job outside the City this year. We lost a tough one to Highlands. They're a good team, no doubt. But we've played some good teams, and we like to set up our schedule like that, to get us ready for the state playoffs.
"It's a different type of basketball outside the City League. They execute so well. They're very patient and play extremley physical, and extremely tough defense. The pace is a lot slower, 90 percent of the time.
"Allderdice has a good team, too. They've played pretty well outside the league, too. When we went to some state championships when Chuck Franklin was coaching here, we had teams similar to this one. A lot of athleticicism. That's something a lot of teams don't see and we're hoping we can use that to our advantage. It's going to be a tough road in the state playoffs, but we're ready for it."
Allderdice owns a victory against Mt. Lebanon, a WPIAL Class AAAA finalist. Mt. Lebanon and Peters Township are in the Class AAAA final and the loser plays Allderdice in the first round of the PIAA playoffs.
"Whatever team we get, we look forward to playing them," said Allderdice coach Andre McDonald.
Home games for WPIAL teams
Five WPIAL boys' teams and five girls' teams must play "play-in" games in the PIAA tournament Tuesday. The WPIAL isn't exactly happy about the "play-in" games, especially in Class AAAA. The Nos. 3, 4 and 5 teams all must play a "play-in" game. But at least those WPIAL teams will play those games on their home court.
The PIAA decided to play all "play-in" games at the home court of one of the teams. The PIAA also decided to let all WPIAL teams play at home in those "play-in" games, which will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
WPIAL Executive Director Tim O'Malley said attendance is the main reason for the home games. The "play-in" games are new to the PIAA tournament and crowds were awfully small at the "play-in" games last year.
"The PIAA feels the games would be better attended at the home site, as opposed to a neutral site," O'Malley said. "We'd rather not have our teams in the 'play-in' games. We're of the opinion that the representation of our teams should enter the first round. But we're only one of 31 to vote in the PIAA. So, if these [play-in] games are going to fall upon us, it is beneficial for our teams to have them as home games."
No decision yet from Clarke
Will Clarke is the starting center on the Allderdice basketball team. His future is in football, but he still hasn't made a college decision.
Clarke, a 6-foot-6 senior, made a verbal commitment to Pitt last summer, but didn't sign on letter-of-intent day earlier this month. He decided to wait and also consider West Virginia. Allderdice basketball coach Andre McDonald said Thursday that Clarke still hasn't made up his mind between Pitt and West Virginia.
Look for live blogs from the WPIAL championships this weekend.