By Pat Leonard
For the Inquirer
Dobbins’ locker room door barged open after Saturday's Class AAA Public League final at Ben Franklin. And second-year head coach William Johnson emerged with his red suit jacket soaked with celebration, smiling ear-to-ear.
Behind 21 points and 13 rebounds from 6-foot-7 junior center Jerrell Wright, Dobbins upset Simon Gratz in overtime, 58-57, to win the league’s Class AAA title and earn its first-ever PIAA state playoff appearance.
“It feels great,” said Johnson as he wiped beads of water from his sleeves. “When I started coaching here, I told the guys I wanted to bring the tradition back from 1985, from the past.”
In 1985, Dobbins won its first and only Public League title.
Chasing a second in Sunday's semifinal, Dobbins will face the Class AAAA champ – either Frankford or Bartram – at 4 p.m. at Southern. A win there will put them in the Public League championship game at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Liacouras Center against the winner of Sunday's semifinal between the Class AA and Class A winners.
Next weekend, the Mustangs (16-6, 14-3 Public League B Division) will represent the Public League against the Catholic League champ – either Archbishop Carroll or Neumann-Goretti – to determine who is the No. 1 seed out of District 12 Class AAA.