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Jayhawks improve to 2-1 in section play, 4-2 overall

| Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Matt Howard makes a move toward the basket.
Jayhawk Julian Batts moves in to shoot the ball.
PHOTOS: John Howard | The Jeannette Spirit
Damone Morton shoots for two points.

Adrian Batts has found the secret to getting the most out of his players — ask them to be boxers.

“I tell the guys, boxers have to go hard for three minutes,” said Batts. “I ask them for three hard minutes and then get them a break and they have responded well.”

When Batts turns to his bench, he knows that players are entering the game with the mindset that every second played hard is a second closer to contributing to a Jayhawks victory.

The mentality worked twice last week as Jeannette rebounded from a shocking section-opening loss to South Allegheny with a road win last Wednesday over Riverview, and a home win last Friday over Springdale to bring the Jayhawks to 2-1 in Section 3-AA and 4-2 overall.

“I am pleased with how we responded after the South Allegheny loss,” said Batts. “We came out focused and had great defensive intensity.

The Jayhawks maintained a lead throughout the Riverview contest and were able to close the deal, something that has eluded them in their two losses, thanks largely to junior point guard Julian Batts and his game-high 37 points.

Coach Batts cited contributions from Michael Wise and Miles Sunder as vital to the Riverview win. Sunder was assigned to watch Riverview's leading scorer and played, as Batts said, “an outstanding game.”

The Springdale game was a blowout the entire way through as the Jayhawks jumped out to a 12-point first quarter lead and never looked back in a 56-17 drubbing. Batts led all scorers with 19, and Wise and Damone Morton added 10 each.

Jeannette will play Clairton tomorrow at 2 p.m. in the Gateway Holiday Classic. The Jayhawks will play a second game in the tournament on Saturday — opponent and time to be determined.

WPIAL Class-AA,

Section 3

GCC (2-0) (5-0)

Serra Catholic (2-0) (2-4)

Jeannette (2-1) (4-2)

South Allegheny (2-1) (5-3)

Shady Side (1-2) (1-5)

Springdale (0-2) (1-6)

Riverview (0-3) (1-6)

Dave Moio is a freelance writer.

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