Freshman sparks Greensburg Central Catholic to season sweep of rival Jeannette

Tuesday, January 31, 2023 | 10:50 PM

Samir Crosby is from Jeannette. He lives there. He has family and friends there.

But on Tuesday night, the freshman guard from Greensburg Central Catholic was out to beat the Jayhawks.

And that’s what he and his teammates did, earning a season sweep over their rivals.

Crosby scored nine of his 11 points in the second half, and Franco Alvarez had a game-high 20 points, as the fifth-ranked Centurions pushed past host Jeannette, 52-43, in a Section 3-2A game.

Crosby provided energy to a game that was lacking it with tough drives to the rim and steals on the defensive end.

“He gave us a big-time spark,” GCC coach Christian Hyland said. “We needed that from him. This was not your typical up-and-down Jeannette-GCC game. It was ugly, but we toughed it out.”

Jaydin Canady added 12 points against his former school as GCC (13-5, 9-1) clinched at least a share of the section title with its sixth straight win and ninth victory in 10 games.

Jeannette (11-6, 5-4) still has some work to do to clinch a playoff berth with three section games left.

When the teams played earlier in the season, GCC won 75-60 in a game that included five technical fouls.

The rematch was slightly less spirited, but the rivals still showed how much they enjoy competing against each other.

Crosby, who had a big second half in the last meeting, followed suit with a couple of layups, the second coast-to-coast to close the third with GCC up 37-30.

His three-point play early in the fourth pushed the lead back to double figures at 42-32.

The teams traded technicals; Jeannette’s Shane Mickens, who had two technicals in the first meeting and had to sit the next game, was called for a push on Crosby late in the third with the game tied 28-28.

“The technical hurt us,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “We let our emotions get the best of us. We had a bad first quarter and let Alvarez take over early.

“If you would have told me he’d get 20 and Tyree Turner would have six, and we’d lose, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

With Turner limited — he and Jeannette’s top scorer, Giovonni Merola basically offset each other — Alvarez scored inside and outplayed Jeannette’s post players.

“Turner did a nice job on Merola,” Batts said. “We still had a chance with all that said.

“We only got three points out of our bigs. These games comes down to free throws and layups.”

Canady was whistled for a technical after he fell on Kymone Brown with 6:26 left in the fourth.

But Jeannette couldn’t fully capitalize.

Jeannette had one last rally in it as Noah Sanders scored off a steal to cut it to five with 2:20 to play.

But Alvarez, who had 14 in the fourth quarter last time, scored on a break to make it 49-40 with just over a minute to go.

“Franco likes to hide in the first quarter,” Hyland said. “He got us going early tonight.”

GCC ran out to a 12-4 lead after the first quarter as Alvarez set the tone with eight in the opening frame.

Turner stretched the margin to 10 early in the second, but Isaiah Mallich and Sanders hit 3-pointers for the Jayhawks to trim it to 16-14.

Crosby delivered an assist to Alvarez late in the half to increase the advantage to 23-14.

Sanders led Jeannette with 15 points and Mallich had 11, including three 3s.

GCC made 12 of 18 free throws, Jeannette 8 of 12.

Jeannette had won five of six since the loss to GCC.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .

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