Greensburg Central Catholic boys bounce back, clinch section title with rout of Jeannette

Saturday, February 12, 2022 | 7:32 PM

The Greensburg Central Catholic boys basketball team had its 20-game home winning streak end Friday night in a loss to Serra Catholic. It was the No. 2-ranked Centurions’ second defeat in three games.

One way to make it all better and end the late-season slip? Blow out your rival on the road and secure a third straight section championship.

The Centurions played with anger and motivation Saturday, scoring in bunches, defending nonstop and soaring past host Jeannette, 75-36, in the teams’ final Section 3-2A game of the season.

GCC (16-3, 9-1) wins the section outright by a game over Serra Catholic, which thumped them 69-53 on Friday.

Jeannette slipped to 10-11 overall and 4-6 in section, where it finished fourth.

The game also marked the teams’ final tune-up for the WPIAL playoffs, which begin later this week. GCC is hoping losses to Class A No. 1 Bishop Canevin and Serra Catholic will not sway the WPIAL to give someone else the No. 2 seed.

“We said, ‘Let’s come out with all we got,’ ” GCC senior guard Brevan Williams said. “We needed to get back out and get a win.”

The Centurions, the WPIAL runners-up a year ago, are hoping to be on the opposite side of the bracket from defending champion Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, the expected No. 1 seed.

That would mean getting a 2 or 3 seeding to postpone a rematch with the Chargers.

“Let them decide,” GCC coach Christian Hyland said of the WPIAL committee. “I am hoping at worst we would be a 3 or 4. We’re glad to be playing at home (for the first round).”

Hyland saw a marked difference in his team after the most recent loss.

“This was a good sign,” he said. “There was a change in attitude. I think we moved on quickly. It was good to have the quick turnaround so we didn’t sit around and sulk.”

Sophomore Franco Alvarez made 9 of 11 field goals and scored 18 points to lead four Centurions in double figures. Williams added 15, sophomore Tyree Turner 14 and senior Ryan Appleby 12.

Turner made 8 of 9 free throws.

“This was a good way for us to end (the regular season) heading to the playoffs,” Williams said.

GCC put its foot down from the tip. It sprinted to a 14-5 lead after one quarter and saw the advantage swell to 37-15 by halftime.

After three quarters, it was 58-30, and the difference reached 40 in the fourth.

The Centurions had success finishing around the rim so they didn’t have to shoot 3-pointers. Alvarez and Williams had their way in the paint.

“Franco has really adjusted well and has found a rhythm with the other guys,” Hyland said. “The last two weeks, he has really come on.”

When the teams matched up earlier in the season, Jeannette played a better first half but faded in the second and fell 64-43 at GCC.

The Jayhawks were punchless in the rematch, despite 18 points from senior Anton Good, who made three 3-pointers.

Good had 10 in the third, but Jeannette could not get the deficit under 20.

Senior Nas Thompson did not play again for the Jayhawks. He has been out of the lineup since late January.

“GCC really flexed its muscles today,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “Some teams might take a step back (after a loss), but they didn’t do that. They just beat us up physically.”

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

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