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Jeannette proud of 24-5 record, postseason run

Paul Schofield
| Friday, March 23, 2007

The Jeannette boys basketball team, its coach and loyal fans are disappointed the season ended one game short of the PIAA title game.

Jeannette's season ended Wednesday with a 69-48 loss to Aliquippa in the PIAA Class AA semifinals.

Aliquippa, ranked No. 1 in the state, also edged Jeannette, 73-69, on March 3 in the WPIAL finals.

Jeannette finished the season 24-5.

After reflecting what the basketball and football teams accomplished this season, there really isn't anyone too sad in Jeannette.

The Jayhawks won another football title in November and played in their first state title Dec. 16, falling to Wilson, 29-28.

Many of those athletes didn't get a rest because basketball season started for 12 of them Dec. 18.

"When I finally got them, I really didn't know what to expect," Jeannette coach Jim Nesser said. "I knew we had a good team returning and we had good athletes, but I didn't know how far we could go after missing six weeks of practice.

"We got to where we wanted be. We wanted a chance to play for the title. We didn't really know our personnel that well, and we had to make some changes to the offense during the season."

Nesser said his team did a great job this season, and once it got into the WPIAL playoffs, it played some of its best games, especially against Shenango, Beaver Falls and Aliquippa.

But in the state playoffs, even in its wins against Farrell, Monessen and North East, Nesser said he felt his team slowed down.

"We played OK in those games," Nesser said. "But I couldn't ask for anything more from them. They gave me all they had."

Terrelle Pryor, the 6-foot-6 junior forward every opponent worried about, said ending the season this week was a little disappointing.

"We're going to get some rest now," Pryor said. "Aliquippa had me tired.

"I expected us to go out, compete and give a good effort. The season was surprising, but it wasn't surprising. We knew we could do it the way we worked."

Pryor said he's pleased with the team's performance.

"We accomplished a lot," Pryor said. "We didn't reach our goal of winning the state title in both sports and the WPIAL title in hoops. But it's been a great season."

And with practically everyone back except for Davonte Shannon in both sports, Jeannette could be looking at a repeat season next year.

"Losing Davonte will be a big loss, but we have a chance at being a better team if some of the young players come along," Nesser said. "If we're not, I'd be disappointed.

"The players didn't know what to expect from me. Definitely, we had to do more with less time. We had to use our practice time efficiently. There are things we didn't do well, but that will change."

And Nesser says his team's playoff experience will be invaluable next season.

"We have to grow from this experience," Nesser said. "Playing for a WPIAL title and reaching the semifinals in the state will be good for the entire program."

Pryor, who is being heavily recruited in football and basketball, says everyone is going to be targeting the Jayhawks next season.

"We have to work even harder to stay on top," Pryor said. "We've got to get in the weightroom and stronger, and when we get on the field and floor, we have to work as hard as we can. We have to leave it all on the field or court."

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