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Jeannette boys aim to improve heading toward holiday break

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
PHOTOS: John Howard | The Jeannette Spirit
Miles Sunder reaches to make a dunk.
Jayhawk Matt Howard moves in for a lay-up.
Coach Adrian Batts looks on during a loss to South Allegheny 47-49.

Jeannette boys basketball head coach Adrian Batts has two explanations for his team's unexpected, section-opening last Friday to South Allegheny — one much more plausible then the other.

“Friday the 13th,” said Batts leaning towards the implausible. A breath later, Batts was more reasonable. “We didn't play well. Not at all.”

To suggest the Jayhawks did not play well in their Section 3-AA opener may be understating the facts. Jeannette committed double-digit turnovers and could not make a layup — literally — they missed 18 over the course of the game in dropping a stunner to South Allegheny 49-47.

“Taking nothing away from South Allegheny, they played hard, but we let them hang around and gain confidence,” said Batts trying to explain the loss. “They never quit, but we had chances to put the game away.”

The Jayhawks looked to be in control mid way through the third quarter. Leading by 10, Jeannette committed four turnovers in four possessions — all of which South Allegheny converted into points — and never regained momentum. Despite how early in the season the loss occurred, it stings.

“Now we have to win more road games to finish higher in the section,” said Batts. “We lost a home game that we should have won, so we have to deal with that.”

The South Allegheny loss came on the heels of a non-section road win Thursday over Greensburg Salem. Jeannette jumped out to an early lead fueled by junior point guard Julian Batts' 19 first-half points and held on for a 62-55 win.

Batts led all scorers with 22 points, but the play of senior forward Michael Wise caught Batts' attention.

“Michael Wise has played great for us,” said Batts. “He's played great defense and has rebounded very well.”

Jeannette hosts Springdale tomorrow night — the Jayhawks' second section home game of the season before breaking for the holidays.

WPIAL Class-AA,

Section 3

GCC (1-0) (3-0)

South Allegheny (1-0) (3-2)

Serra Catholic (1-0) (1-3)

Jeannette (0-1) (2-2)

Riverview (0-1) (1-3)

Shady Side (0-1) (0-4)

Springdale (0-0) (1-4)

Dave Moio is a freelance writer.

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