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Lady Jays ready for PIAA playoffs

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Sydney Pecoraro drives the ball to the net in the playoff game.
Jeannette's Monica Carl concentrates at the foul line.
Ciara Gregory drives the ball up court during the Lady Jays' loss in the WPIAL semifinals against Seton Lasalle last week. PHOTOS: John Howard | The Jeannette Spirit

Jeannette girls head coach LuAnn Mills gets the most out of the Jeannette girls basketball team because she pushes them hard, teaches them well and expects them to perform regardless of the situation.

That attitude apparently extends to the bowling alley, as well.

Mills' bunch were enjoying an end-of-WPIAL-season bowling party last Sunday, but Mills wasn't about to let them get off too easily. Instead of four steps and a toss of the ball down the lane, Mills made the girls earn it.

“I make them turn around, throw with their eyes closed or throw it backwards,” said Mills, through a playful laugh. “I never make it easy on them.”

Mills likes a loose team that enjoys playing together and the bowling games serve as a good example of how she builds a fun, family atmosphere with the players.

Mills hopes the girls' attitude remains positive as they approach a tough first-round, PIAA Class-AA playoff tilt with Section 10 finalist General McLane.

GM lost to North East in the Section 10 WPIAL championship game, and despite a 22-3 record, remain largely a mystery to Mills and the Jeannette staff.

“We don't know much about them,” said Mills. “I will be learning this week, though and finding out who their top scorers are so we can put our best defenders on them.”

The Jayhawks (17-7) have a secret of their own who, while well known throughout the WPIAL, will be sight-unseen when she arrives in Edinboro for Friday night's 6 p.m. tip-off at Edinboro University.

That weapon — the WPIAL's leading scorer the past two seasons and Jeannette's all-time leading scorer — Ciara Gregory.

“Yeah, we have Ciara and they probably do not know too much about her,” said Mills. “Hopefully she can do what she does and we can move on in the playoffs.”

Moving on for Jeannette would mean a game Tuesday night with the winner of the game between the WPIAL Class-AA champion, Bishop Canevin and Westmont-Hilltop out of Section 6.

Dave Moio is a freelance writer.

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