Jayhawks return to playoffs Saturday in PIAA action

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Jeannette basketball is back up off the mat.

After suffering a shocking loss to Apollo-Ridge in the WPIAL Class-AA playoffs quarterfinals round, Jeannette needed Beaver Falls to win it all to qualify for the state playoff tournament as the seven-seed in PIAA District-7-AA.

Thank you very much Beaver Falls.

The Tigers whipped Burrell in the WPIAL championship game last Saturday and put the Jayhawks into the state tournament where they will face District-10 champion West Middlesex Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Slippery Rock University.

Jeannette (18-5) was the top-ranked Class-AA team in the WPIAL for a portion of the season and was ranked as high as third in the state rankings before losing twice to Greensburg Central Catholic and exiting the WPIAL playoffs sooner than expected.

West Middlesex (22-3) won the District 10 title by surviving Mercyhurst Prep in five overtimes last Friday. The Big Red are led by senior standout Matt Dogan. The 6-3 guard averages 26.3 points per game and scored 36 in the West Middlesex win over Mercyhurst Prep.

“He's a very good scorer,” Jeannette head coach Adrian Batts said of Dogan. “We will probably rotate defenders against him if they screen. We will be prepared for him.”

One of the effects of Dogan's game is that he tends to draw an inordinate number of fouls. He averages more than 15 free throws a game, and his team often shoots many more free throws than their opponents.

“We know we are going on the road and using their officials,” said Batts. “We just hope they call the game both ways.”

Batts believes his team matches up with anybody in Class-AA and wants a chance to prove it.

“I still believe that we are one of the best teams in double-A,” said Batts. “We want to show people what Jeannette basketball can do.”

Should Jeannette win, they would play Wednesday against the winner of the first-round matchup between Bishop-McCort out of Section 6 and Section 7's second seed, Burrell.

Dave Moio is a freelance writer.

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