High school basketball notebook: Jeannette’s Johnson learns from ejection

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 | 5:06 PM

Jeannette junior guard Anthony Johnson said he let his team down when he was ejected in the WPIAL boys basketball semifinals against OLSH for receiving two technical fouls.

While his coach, Adrian Batts, did not believe Johnson did anything to warrant two technicals, claiming Johnson was targeted, a humbled Johnson called the incident a learning experience.

The fouls were for things he said to or around officials during play.

“It made me grow up,” Johnson said. “The fans try to get to me and when I give in, they win. But I can't be too high or too low. I let everybody down, and I will make it up to them. I am sorry for putting my team in that position.”

Johnson will return to the lineup Wednesday night when Jeannette (20-4) takes on Cambridge Springs (21-5) in the PIAA Class 2A second round at Farrell.

Jeannette is used to playing without Johnson. He missed several games early in the season after being ruled ineligible by the WPIAL and PIAA following his transfer from Allderdice to Jeannette last year — his fourth high school in three years — for what the leagues deemed athletic intent.

And then he missed six games with an ankle injury.

“Anthony is tough to replace because he does so much,” Batts said. “But our guys have adjusted well to when he has been out.”

Johnson, who averages 21 points, has seen an increase in college interest for football. He has made unofficial visits to Pitt and Michigan State and said he also plans to visit Michigan.

The energetic defensive end who got reacquainted with football last season and helped Jeannette win WPIAL and PIAA Class A titles, has scholarship offers from Howard and Central Michigan.

Road trip

With his son, Julian, making it to the NCAA Tournament play-in round with LIU-Brooklyn, Jeannette coach Adrian Batts had to start packing and throw together a road trip.

He missed Jeannette's practice Tuesday as he traveled to Dayton to watch LIU-Brooklyn play Radford.

Batts has been preparing for the second round of the PIAA Class 2A playoffs — the Jayhawks (20-4) play Cambridge Springs (21-5) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Farrell.

The elder Batts saw a scenario where he could go from Jeannette to his home in Harrison City, to Dayton, back to Harrison City, to Farrell, back home, then possibly to Pittsburgh on Thursday if the Blackbirds made the East Region bracket — all in three days time.

“It's all right,” the coach and proud papa said. “It's crazy, but it's all right. If you see me on TV crying, don't think I'm any less of a man.”

Showcase set

The inaugural ITPS #CancerSucks Baseline Recruiting Charity Classic will be played March 31 at Chatham.

Three Westmoreland players are expected play in the event, including Brandon Stone, the 6-foot-11 senior swing-forward from the Christ School. The former Southmoreland standout has narrowed his college choices to Pitt, Penn State, Duquesne and South Carolina.

Latrobe's Bryce Butler and The Kiski School's Asa Klimchock, who used to play at Greensburg Central Catholic, also were invited and will play in one of the two underclassmen games, set for noon and 2 p.m.

Two senior games will be played at 4 and 7:15.

Pennsylvania teams will go against teams from West Virginia.

There will be slam dunk and 3-point contests.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

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