SQUIRREL HILL (KDKA) – The Taylor Allderdice boys’ basketball team is heading to the Class AAAA state finals for the first time in the school’s 89-year existence.
“it’s a big opportunity for our school, the community and we’ve been looking forward to this since our sophomore year and now we get the opportunity to do it. So, we’re looking forward to it,” senior Ramon Creighton said.
“We’re expecting a big crowd and we’re expecting a tough game. We just [have to] play our hearts out,” senior Jordan Rawls said.
It’s been a journey for a team the head coach says has a lot of talent and chemistry.
“We’re here. This is a lifetime of a dream. We’re going to roll with it, whatever happens, happens,” head coach Buddy Valinsky
For Valinsky, this whole experience is pretty special. He actually played for Taylor Allderdice back in the late 70s. He said that the team was pretty good, but not this good and that’s why tomorrow is so important.
“It’s actually somewhat deja vu because in 1978, my team went to state playoffs. We won our first two games, which was the first in the school’s history, but we didn’t go to Hershey,” Valinsky said.
“This is our last chance. This is our last game we’re going to play in high school and we’re want to end it on a high note,” senior Tim Pugh said.
Today, the school sent the Dragons off to Hershey with well wishes and the best of luck against Roman Catholic High School, from Philadelphia.
With a 28-1 record, Taylor Allderdice has been the top-ranked team in the state for most of the season and they were even nationally ranked by USA Today.
“We’re finally in the state playoffs, we’re ranked No. 1, it’s going to be insane on Saturday. I can’t wait,” junior Alex Kontos said.
Students are hoping for a big win and a trophy to be brought back to Squirrel Hill.
“I think it’s going to be exciting to bring it back to Pittsburgh and back to the school and then we get a lot of recognition,” freshman Sydney Martin said.
Taylor Allderdice is the first city school to advance to the finals since Schenley High School back in 2007.
However, they won’t be the only local school competing for a state title this weekend. The Mars and Aliquippa boys’ teams along with Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic’s girls’ team are also looking to bring home state titles.