Jayhawks sit in 2nd after GCC loss
Looking to take complete control of their section, their playoff seeding, and their status as the top-ranked team in the WPIAL Class-AA, the Jeannette Jayhawks welcomed their old rival, Greensburg Central Catholic, to Jeannette High School last Tuesday night for one of the season's crowning moments.
GCC had a slightly different agenda.
Instead of a statement win, the Jayhawks fell to the Centurions 65-61 to fall a game behind in the Section 3-AA standings. Head coach Adrian Batts found an easy way to explain the loss.
“We weren't ourselves,” said Batts. “As a group, maybe we were over-confident coming in. The loss was a good learning experience for us.”
What Jeannette should have learned is that regardless of their talent level, they cannot afford to play less than their best against the top teams in Class-AA.
The Jayhawks' two leading scorers, Duke Brown and Julian Batts, had typical nights with 20 and 25 respectively, but GCC's Zach Herman, 26, and Brian Graytok, 15, offset Jeannette's top scorers.
The game was close throughout — tied at 15 after one, 30-28 GCC at the half, tied at 48 after three — and was only decided after aptly-named Christian Hyland hit a three-pointer from the right corner with 45 seconds to play in the fourth to break a 61-61 tie. Herman iced the game with a free throw with seconds left.
“We know that they cannot play much better than that,” said Batts. “We also know that we can play much better than we did.”
If Jeannette can play much better, they certainly did not do that in their next turn at bat last Thursday at South Allegheny. Despite an 11-point win, the Jayhawks went into the fourth quarter only leading by one and were uncharacteristically sleepwalking through much of the action.
“We missed three break-away layups. We didn't play hard and it wasn't just one or two guys, it was everybody,” said Batts, “Hopefully we got it out of out system and are ready to start playing Jeannette basketball.”
WPIAL Class-AA, Section 3
GCC (7-0) (15-1)
Jeannette (6-1) (13-2)
Serra Catholic (5-2) (12-2)
Riverview (2-5) (5-10)
South Allegheny (2-5) (5-10)
Shady Side (2-5) (4-12)
Springdale (0-6) (2-11)
Dave Moio is a freelance writer.