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Jeannette boys cruise in opener

| Sunday, March 11, 2012

CLARION -- Showing no ill effects after a 14-day layoff, the Jeannette boys basketball team forced seven turnovers in the first quarter of their PIAA Class AA opener Saturday.

The strong defensive effort paid off as Jeannette rolled to a 73-43 victory over Smethport in a first-round game at Clarion University.

The Jayhawks scored five baskets off the early turnovers to fuel a 13-0 run and take control of a game in which they never trailed. Jeannette (17-8) will play rival Greensburg Central Catholic in the second round Wednesday.

Smethport, in the PIAA tournament for only the second time in the past 23 seasons, finished 18-6.

"That was a great start," Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. "Especially with us being off 14 days, I was worried about us fouling. That was a big step for us to stay out of foul trouble in the first quarter."

Demetrious Cox scored eight of his team-high 14 points in the first quarter. Jeannette took a 20-7 lead after Smethport tied it at 7 on a 3-pointer by Kevin Lord.

"Give Jeanette all the credit for pressuring us and getting our guards out of the game," Smethport coach Dan Zeigler said.

Six more Hubbers turnovers in the second quarter led to a 33-24 advantage for the Jayhawks at halftime. The turnover bug continued to bite the Hubbers in the third quarter; they committed miscues on nine of 11 possessions at one point.

"I don't know what it was," Zeigler said. "Jeannette just seemed to make us uncomfortable."

Batts substituted liberally in the second half, and all 11 Jayhawks in uniform reached the scoring column. Duke Brown came off the bench to score 11 points, and Orlando Morgan added 10.

"Some of those guys don't get to play much," Batts said. "It was good to see all of them get in to play."

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