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No one could blame Jeannette head coach LuAnn Mills for her state of mind after one quarter in last Monday night's key Section 3-AA matchup with longtime rival Greensburg Central Catholic.
“I was nervous,” said Mills.
So too must have been the assembled at Jeannette High School — at least those wearing blue and red.
The Jayhawks were leading the game 16-15, but they had to battle back from an early 6-0 deficit and watched as their superstar, senior Ciara Gregory, missed eight of nine shots and registered only two first-quarter points.
Fortunately for the Jayhawks, Monique Redman came to play early.
“Monique saved us early in the game when Ciara was struggling,” said Mills. “She was great in the first quarter.”
The second quarter was better for Gregory — she had six points — but eight points from a player averaging more than 30 a game is hard to process, so Mills did what effective coaches do — coached up her superstar.
“I told her what she was doing wrong and made her take a couple of shots at halftime,” said Mills. “I told her to take some deep breaths and refocus.”
The deep breath thing — the refocus thing — they may have worked. Or it may have been the shot correction thing. Whatever it was, Gregory returned to the form that has made her Jeannette's all-time leading scorer.
Gregory scored 32 of her game-high 40 points in the second half including 23 of Jeannette's 26 fourth quarter points to help the Jayhawks to a 72-70 victory. The win gave Jeannette (7-0, 10-4) a one-game section lead over GCC (6-1, 11-4).
Jeannette followed up the GCC win with an easy 70-47 romp over South Allegheny. Gregory had 33 to move her career points total to 1,818, 41 better than 2010 graduate Kayla Cook (1,777).
WPIAL Class-AA, Section 3
Jeannette (7-0) (10-4)
GCC (6-1) (11-4)
Springdale (3-3) (8-8)
Riverview (3-4) (9-6)
Shady Side (3-4) (5-9)
South Allegheny (2-5) (7-8)
East Allegheny (0-7) (1-12)
Dave Moio is a freelance writer.
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