Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Obama Gets a Chance for Redemption

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Obama Gets a Chance for Redemption

Article excerpt

Disappointment. Heartbreak. Frustration.

Just as it had a season earlier, the Obama Academy boys team went through those emotions last Saturday after being defeated by Allderdice in the City League championship game for the second year in a row.

There was one major difference, however. Last season, the championship loss ended Obama's season. This time around, the Eagles aren't done quite yet.

Obama has qualified for the PIAA Class AAA tournament. The Eagles (14-6) will play the District 9 champion in a play-in game at a site and time to be determined. Clearfield and Punxsutawney are scheduled to meet for the District 9 title tonight. If the Eagles defeat the District 9 winner, they'll play the WPIAL's third-place finisher in next Friday's first round.

When Obama coach Devas Simmons met with his players after last Saturday's 78-58 loss, one of the first items he discussed was that it was just one loss, and a new tournament would be starting soon.

"That's one thing that we told our young men. 'Yes, this hurts. But by Monday, it's over. We get another opportunity to wear our uniform and we get to go after a bigger brand, and that's a state run,'" Simmons said.

Obama wasn't so fortunate last season, despite losing only one game. A loss to Allderdice dropped Obama to 22-1. Because both schools were in Class AAAA and only one could move on to the PIAA playoffs, however, Obama was left in the cold. Now competing in Class AAA, the Eagles have a chance to heat up again.

The Eagles will use the break in between games to sharpen themselves on both ends of the court. Offensively, they accumulated their fewest points since scoring 53 in a loss to Allderdice a month earlier. The Eagles fell behind by 12 points at the half after making only seven field goals.

They struggled mightily from the free-throw line, too, converting on just 19 of 35 attempts.

Regardless of how Obama fares in the PIAA tournament, even brighter days seem to be ahead for a team that starts three sophomores and has another as its sixth man. …

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