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Jayhawks could get 2nd seed in Class-AA

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Coach Adrian Batts watches his Jayhawks from the sidelines. PHOTOS:John Howard | The Jeannette Spirit
Jeannette's Garrett Elliott goes up for two points on a layup.
Jayhawk Damone Morton scores two points for his team.

Entering the week with an 8-1 Section 3-AA record, 15-2 overall, and ranked third in Class-AA in the state, Jeannette boys basketball is poised for a top five seed in the upcoming WPIAL playoffs and a run deep into those playoffs.

Only one thing worries Jeannette head coach Adrian Batts as the season draws to a close.

It's that pesky thing that bothers many coaches of talented teams — the one thing that can make closing out games tougher than it needs to be, or overcoming deficits an extremely difficult proposition.

It is free-throw shooting.

The Jayhawks have run cold at the charity stripe in recent weeks but Batts thinks it is something they will overcome.

“I have tremendous faith in my players,” said Batts. “I believe in them. Now the trick is getting them to believe in themselves.”

Jeannette has not played many close games this season, but Batts still tries to create pressure situations in practice so that his players develop a routine that they are able to repeat in games when needed.

One routine the Jayhawks seem to have down to a science is winning. Jeannette moved to 8-1 in the section with a good road win against a very tough Serra Catholic team looking for a signature win on their post-season resume.

Led by a strong third quarter, the Jayhawks overcame a one-point halftime deficit to take a nine-point lead into the fourth. They held on for a 63-56 win that pleased Batts.

“We did everything right in that third quarter and took control of the game. It was a very good road win for us.”

Jeannette closes out its regular season section schedule with the big game — the Greensburg Central Catholic game — a game that could vault Jeannette as high as the second seed in Class-AA.

Should Jeannette lose to GCC, they would most likely be looking at the four or five-seed.

WPIAL Class-AA,

Section 3

GCC (10-0) (18-1)

Jeannette (8-1) (15-2)

Serra Catholic (6-4) (13-5)

Shady Side (6-5) (8-12)

South Allegheny (3-7) (7-13)

Riverview (2-9) (5-14)

Springdale (0-9) (2-14)

Dave Moio is a freelance writer.

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