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Defensive switch suits Allderdice in win against Aliquippa

Kevin Lohman
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After a half of play between two of the top basketball programs in the Western Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Basketball Club’s Hall of Fame Classic game between Allderdice and Aliquippa was living up to its billing.

The top City League team and one of WPIAL Class AAA’s finest traded shots, and Allderdice led 36-33 after an entertaining first half.

Then, the Dragons (14-3) caught fire, opening the third quarter on a 13-0 run the Quips (11-6, 7-2) couldn’t recover from. Allderdice maintained a 13-point lead throughout the third and continued to build on it until the final buzzer cemented a 77-57 victory.

The hot streak that tipped the scales in the Dragons’ favor, according to Allderdice coach Buddy Valinsky, was a result of their opponent switching from a 3-2 zone to a man-to-man in the second half.

“Our sets are good against man-to-man. We’re a pretty good man-to-man team. We’re patient. We set good screens, and we’re unselfish,” Valinsky said.

“We can work the ball around pretty well, so as soon as they went with man-to-man, I knew we could go on a run.”

No player benefitted more than Jackson Blaufield, who made seven 3-pointers on his way to 32 points. Blaufield was 7 of 14 from 3-point range.

“That’s all he took? I wish he would take 20,” Valinsky said. “He’s a shooter. I mean, you just look at his form and mechanics and watch the rotation of the ball. I wish he’d shoot 30 times a game.

“When he’s feeling it, he’s feeling it. He loves playing here at Montour. It’s a good venue for him. There’s a good backdrop behind the hoop. Everything is tight, so he loves getting his shots off here. “

Dragons big man Dalen Dugger also played an instrumental role, scoring 20 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking five shots. Dugger’s presence in the paint played a part in influencing the Quips to settle for outside shots.

Senior Bobby Clifford also tallied 20 points for Allderdice.

For Aliquippa, the absence of M.J. Devonshire was felt as the senior missed the game because the football recruit scheduled a visit to Kentucky.

Without Devonshire, the Quips leaned heavily on Will Gipson, who answered the call and scored 18 points. Gipson’s sharp play, however, was not enough for Aliquippa.

“They caught fire on us there at the start of the second half. We came out, not sluggish, but maybe a little unaware of where they were. They got open and hit shots in the corners on us,” Aliquippa coach Dwight Hines said.

“They can shoot. They’re a good team, but I think this game can actually help us in the long run. We can grow from this game.”

Eli Kosanovich added 11 points in the losing effort for the Quips.

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.