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Greensburg Central Catholic guts out win over rival Jeannette

| Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, 10:18 p.m.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Greensburg Central Catholic's Collin Liberatore grabs a rebound over Jeannette's Michael Wise during a game at GCC on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014.

Brian Graytok admitted that he lost his cool briefly during Tuesday's Section 3-AA basketball game.

Can you blame him?

No. 2 ranked Greensburg Central Catholic and Jeannette combined for 41 fouls and shot 20 of 44 from the free-throw line. That would drive just about anybody nuts.

But even though Graytok grew frustrated, he didn't let it affect his performance. The Centurions' 6-foot-1 senior guard scored a game-high 19 points to lead GCC to a 53-40 victory in front of a raucous home crowd.

“It's a rivalry,” Graytok said. “It gets a little heated out there, so I think the refs are trying to keep it under control.

“You have to keep your cool. If you lose your cool, you're not going to play as well as you can. I might have lost it a little (Tuesday). I think I kept it together enough to get the win.”

Which means GCC remained in first place in Section 3-AA at 12-1 overall and 6-0 in section play, extending its winning streak to six. Jeannette fell to 8-4, 4-2.

The Jayhawks have dropped nine of their past 10 against GCC.

The 40 points were a season low for Jeannette, which, like GCC, missed a ton of close shots.

“They played solid defense, but I thought we got what we wanted.We got to the rim,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “We got some easy shots. You're trying to climb back in it … you don't make those shots, you're digging a deeper ditch.”

Billy Hipp scored 14 points and made a pair of 3-pointers. Center Collin Bisignani added eight points and nine rebounds for GCC.

Jeannette got 18 points from Julian Batts, who missed the entire third quarter after picking up his fourth foul with 1 minute, 9 seconds left in the second quarter.

The first half provided little aside from frustration and missed opportunities as the teams combined for 14 missed free throws in 25 attempts and 22 fouls called.

Greensburg Central Catholic led 11-7 after one, getting a three-point play from Romano Sebastiani and a 3-pointer from Hipp.

The Centurions increased their lead to 23-16 at halftime after Bisignani scored six points during the period.

GCC's lead grew to 12 points following a three-point play from Hipp, but Jeannette cut the deficit to 32-27 after Michael Wise's jumper with 1:36.

Graytok ended the third with a 3-pointer and a layup to push GCC's lead back to 37-27.

Batts scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, but Jeannette never made a serious push. Graytok sealed it with his steal-and-score with 32 seconds to go.

“We try to keep our pressure on to get some easy buckets at the end of the game,” Centurions coach Greg Bisignani said. “Give them credit. They didn't back down. They didn't give us any easy buckets.”

No, definitely not.

Not with how physical this one was.

“I did not expect it to be this physical,” Hipp said. “It was really physical.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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