Greensburg Central Catholic takes down rival Jeannette

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019 | 11:57 PM


Greensburg Central Catholic rookie basketball coach Christian Hyland said his young lineup was not starstruck playing at Jeannette.

Neither was the 24-year-old coach, who made it two wins in his first three games as the Centurions clipped the Jayhawks, 48-46, in a nonsection game Tuesday night.

An introduction to varsity basketball has also been a learning experience for GCC, which has newcomers finding their place on the floor.

“It’s always a battle when we play Jeannette,” Hyland said. “There were times when we had two or three sophomores and two juniors on the floor. This was a big win for us.”

Balanced scoring was the order of the day for the Centurions (2-1), who broke a three-game losing skid against their traditional rival and former section opponent Jeannette, which fell to 0-3.

“In a game where you have two evenly matched teams, it’s the little things that matter most,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “We knew this wasn’t going to be a blowout. We had opportunities and missed them. Free throws and layups, that’s what it came down to.”

Junior Christian McGowan, a Greensburg Salem transfer, and sophomore Ryan Appleby tied a team high with 10 points, while sophomore guard Dylan Parsons and junior guard Dylan Sebek added nine points apiece for GCC, which went ahead to stay on driving layup by McGowan with 40 seconds to play.

Another sophomore, Brevan Williams, scored eight.

McGowan overcame a bout with the flu to help fuel GCC, which has scored one more point than it has allowed so far (173-172). It led by 10 after the first quarter before the teams traded leads in the second half.

“Our guys are keying on their roles and learning how to play together,” Hyland said. “We figured we’d be pretty balanced, so that is no surprise.”

Offense was mostly underwhelming and play as physical as one might expect.

Neither team was in the mood for a free throw shooting contest. They combined to go 22 of 44 from the foul line — GCC was 12 of 23, Jeannette 10 of 21.

Jackson Pruitt led Jeannette with a game-high 17 points but had little help offensively.

Pruitt sat for a portion of the second half after drawing his fourth foul with two minutes to go in the third.

Jeannette got just 14 points from the rest of its starters. Reserve guard James Sanders scored seven, including a fadeaway jumper that gave the Jayhawks their largest lead at 34-30.

A back-and-forth third ended with GCC ahead, 38-36. Williams scored six in the frame for the Centurions.

After GCC built a four-point lead early in the fourth, Jeannette rattled off seven straight points, including a 3 by Pruitt and a layup by Imani Sanders, to give Jeannette a 45-42 advantage with about four minutes to go.

“We have to be better with the lead,” Batts said. “We’re trying to make plays that aren’t there. We need to be smarter.”

Parsons canned a 3 from the near corner to tie it 45-45.

Zach Crutchman hit 1 of 2 free throws to put Jeannette in front again, 46-45, but McGowan sliced down the lane to give GCC the lead back for good.

Jeannette had a late look but the shot missed as time expired; no overtime, like the junior varsity game that ended 51-51 after two overtimes.

“Coach Batts does a great job of getting his guys to play hard,” Hyland said. “Jeannette was winning the 50-50 balls in the first half, but we did a better job after we made some adjustments at halftime. We did a better job limiting their second-chance points.”

GCC, on the strength of three 3-pointers, took a 17-7 lead after the first quarter, but Jeannette rallied to tie it twice before the half. Pruitt scored eight in the second quarter.

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

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