GCC nips Jeannette on late 3-pointer

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 3:02 p.m.

The drama and suspense of neighboring rivals Greensburg Central Catholic and Jeannette continued Tuesday night with a see-saw boys basketball battle between Section 3-AA leaders.

In the end, GCC emerged with a 65-61 victory that appeared closer than even the four-point margin indicated.

“We were lucky to come out on top today,” GCC coach Greg Bisignani said.

Zach Herman scored 26 points and Christian Hyland hit a go-ahead 3-point shot with 45 seconds left to lift visiting No. 3 Greensburg Central Catholic (14-1, 6-0) over No. 2 Jeannette (12-2, 5-1) and into sole possession of first place.

Brian Graytok added 15 points for GCC, which won its sixth game in a row following a 20-point loss to Class AAAA No. 2 Gateway on Dec. 28.

“Most times, when these two schools get together — in any sport — you can expect it to be a close outcome,” Bisignani said.

The victory comes at the same site one night after the Jeannette girls upset No. 5 GCC, 72-70.

“It's a lot of fun to play against these guys,” Herman said. “Win or lose tonight, this was a great game.”

Julian Batts led Jeannette with 25 points. Duke Brown added 20 for the Jayhawks, who had a four-game winning streak stopped. Their only prior loss was a 66-40 decision to Brentwood (Tenn.) on Dec. 28.

Jeannette trailed, 30-28, at halftime after the teams played to a 15-all first-quarter tie. On both occasions, Jeannette scored at the buzzer on 3-pointers — Batts finding the mark from beyond the arc at the first-quarter stop and Brown sinking another at the halftime mark.

As an added measure, GCC and Jeannette started the fourth quarter tied at 48 in advance of a furious finish.

Miles Sunder's field goal with 1:31 left — his only basket of the game — pulled Jeannette even at 61 before Hyland's 3-pointer from the corner gave GCC a 64-61 lead.

After Herman missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Brown misfired on a 3-point attempt with 9 seconds left and the Jayhawks were forced to foul.

Herman hit one of two shots to give GCC its final margin.

“We may have needed this. We didn't play as hard as we should have, and that's uncharacteristic of us,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “I knew it was going to be a close game. We had some shots there at the end that didn't fall. This is far from over. This was Round 1. We've got to be ready to play them again.”

The regular-season rematch is Feb. 28 at GCC.

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dmackall@tribweb.com.

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