Jeannette girls basketball team earns 4th straight section title
The old adage goes something along the lines of doing something once is an accident, twice is a coincidence and three times is proof.
The Jeannette girls basketball team wants to know what doing something a fourth time means.
The old adage obviously did not account for the 2013 Jeannette Lady Jayhawks who capped off their fourth consecutive section title by sweeping the season series last Thursday over rival Greensburg Central Catholic.
Senior superstar Ciara Gregory capped off a 7-1 career mark against GCC by netting the game-winning point, a made free throw with .8 seconds remaining, to lift Jeannette to a 54-53 win.
The win moved the Jayhawks to 11-1 in Section 3-AA and clinched Jeannette's fourth section crown in four years, a first in Jeannette girls basketball history.
“I told the girls they had a chance to go out and set a record,” said Jeannette head coach LuAnn Mills who was part of three consecutive section winners in her playing days at Jeannette. “They had a goal and they achieved it.”
The almost 32 minutes that preceded the Gregory free throw was the typical Jeannette/GCC, see-saw battle.
The Jayhawks were up early opening the game with a 7-1 run, but GCC chipped away and the two teams went back and forth before GCC took the lead on a Carolyn Appleby three-pointer.
Monique Redman tied it up for the Jayhawks seconds later and set up the dramatic finish.
“I wanted Ciara to have the ball,” said Mills of Jeannette's final possession. “I told her not to shoot a three. Why take a lower percentage shot?”
Gregory took her coach's sage advice and drove to the basket, picked up a foul and sank the game-winner.
After celebrating with her teammates Jeannette's achievement, Gregory reached a personal milestone Saturday when she dropped 27 points in a non-section win over Derry to eclipse 2,000 points in her record-setting career.
Jeannette's win over GCC guarantees the Jayhawks an opening-round bye in the upcoming WPIAL Class-AA playoffs.
The Lady Jays learned earlier this week who they will play, but the seedings were announced too late for this edition.
Jeannette (11-1) (15-6)
GCC (10-2) (16-6)
Riverview (7-5) (13-7)
Springdale (6-6) (11-11)
Shady Side (5-7) (7-13)
South Allegheny (3-9) (8-14)
East Allegheny (0-12) (1-18)
Dave Moio is a freelance writer.