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GCC earns 4th section title

| Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 10:51 p.m.
Greensburg Central Catholic's Brian Graytok drives baseline as Jeannette's Duke Brown defends on Feb. 8, 2013. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review

The consensus is these two could meet again this season.

In what amounted to a serious WPIAL playoff atmosphere, top-ranked Greensburg Central Catholic clinched a fourth consecutive section title by beating No. 3 Jeannette, 52-45, on Friday night in the Section 3-AA finale for both teams.

“I don't doubt we'll see them again. Maybe twice,” GCC coach Greg Bisignani said of Jeannette.

“I really think we'll see (GCC) again,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said.

Both teams are highly ranked not only in the WPIAL by Trib Total Media, but also in a state poll conducted by the Patriot-News of Harrisburg. GCC sits at No. 2, and Jeannette is at No. 3, both trailing only defending WPIAL champion Beaver Falls.

Zach Herman scored 19 points, and Collin Bisignani added a career-high 16 to lead GCC, which completed a regular-season sweep of its two games against Jeannette.

Bisignani, a 6-foot-7 junior and the coach's son, scored on a variety of baskets in close and produced several key blocks, including one against Jeannette point guard Julian Batts with 47 seconds left that helped to seal the outcome.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” Collin Bisignani said. “I just got my hands in the passing lane, and he wasn't able to get his shot off, so he tried to pass it, and I got my hands on it.”

GCC (20-1, 12-0) used a deeper bench to wear down Jeannette (18-3, 10-2), getting to the foul line seemingly at will. The Centurions shot 17 for 23 compared to just 2 for 4 for Jeannette.

“We weren't able to get to the 1-and-1 in either half,” Adrian Batts said. “I don't understand it. They played man-to-man the whole game, and we're pretty athletic ourselves. So I just don't understand it. Central is a very good team.”

The two schools have developed quite a rivalry, and it was never more evident than with the overflow crowd at GCC's tiny gymnasium. As one onlooker loudly remarked while fans were in the midst of one of their frenzies: “This place was built in 1959. There's a lot of history here.”

GCC claimed its fourth section title in a row one night after its girls team was beaten by Jeannette at the same venue by a single point, likewise giving the Jayhawks their fourth consecutive section title.

“This is a tough place to play,” Batts said.

Early on, Jeannette managed to overcome the place, jumping to a 7-1 lead. The Jayhawks stayed in front until finally falling behind in the second quarter, though the teams played fairly even throughout.

GCC managed to take a 26-24 advantage at halftime after Herman converted two free throws. The Centurions never trailed again, though Jordan Edmunds' layup pulled Jeannette within one point, 38-37, after three quarters.

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

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