Gateway goes on 2nd-half run in rout of Franklin Regional

Friday, February 12, 2021 | 10:35 PM

Gateway turned a tight battle into a rout in a hurry Friday night, overwhelming section co-leader Franklin Regional with a big third-quarter run en route to a 61-28 Section 3-5A boys basketball victory at home, the Gators’ fourth win in five games.

A 24-0 run in the second half buried Franklin Regional’s hopes of taking over sole possession of the section lead.

“We got mercy-ruled,” a stunned Franklin Regional coach Steve Scorpion said. “The clock was running on us.”

Jaydon Carr led three Gateway players in double figures with 16 points. Ryan Greggerson scored eight of his 14 during a 26-8 third-quarter blitz, including a quarter-ending 17-0 run for the Gators.

They scored the first seven points of the fourth to extend their streak to 24 and pull away to a 52-23 lead after battling their way a 19-15 halftime advantage.

“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well in the first half,” Gateway coach Alvis Rogers said. “We told them to let the defense turn into the offense. We changed up the press in the second half, and they got some steals and it just carried on from there.”

Rogers was coaching in his third game since returning to the team following heart bypass surgery Dec. 21, and the Gators responded with their second victory in a row after a six-point loss to Penn Hills, which was idle Friday night but took over first place by a half-game.

Will Kromka added 11 points for Gateway (6-5, 5-4).

“It was a big game for us,” Rogers said. “They were undefeated in the section.”

Franklin Regional (5-3, 5-1), hoping to regroup in a hurry, is scheduled to play at once-beaten Class 6A No. 1 Upper St. Clair on Monday.

The teams plodded through an ugly first half that saw neither team able to find its shooting touch. The game’s first points weren’t scored until 412 minutes had elapsed in the first quarter.

But Gateway caught fire in the third, and when Kromka connected on consecutive 3-pointers within a span of 30 seconds to give the Gators a 36-21 lead, Scorpion called a timeout with 2 minutes, 52 seconds left.

He began shouting at his players, his voice echoing throughout the near-empthy gym as he implored them to “get it together.”

It didn’t help as Gateway continued on its tear.

“It was extremely frustrating to watch,” Scorpion said. “You feel helpless. We were trying different things, trying different lineups.

Kadyn Hannah’s 16 points led the Panthers, who had three starters go scoreless.

“We are not going to win games if those guys don’t score,” Scorpion said.

After the trip to Upper St.Clair, the Panthers play Wednesday at Latrobe, at Kiski Area on Thursday and at home Saturday against Class 6A No. 4 Hempfield.

“We have a big week coming up,” Scorpion said. “We’ll find out what we’re made of.”

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