Jeannette boys basketball team using extra time to prepare for season

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Sunday, November 28, 2021 | 3:43 PM


When the Jeannette boys basketball team opens the 2021-22 on Dec. 10 at the West Mifflin tournament, the team will be ahead of the game.

In previous seasons, Jeannette coach Adrian Batts had to wait for the football season to end before he got most of his players in the gymnasium.

This year, because the Jayhawks’ football season ended earlier than usual, Batts has had more time to prepare for the upcoming season.

And with only two starters returning from a team that finished 15-5 and advanced to the WPIAL Class 2A semifinals before losing to eventual WPIAL and PIAA champion Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Batts must replace several key players, some lost to graduation and others who transferred.

Senior Anton Good, who averaged 15 points per game as a junior, and senior Shane Mickens, the top rebounder, are the returning starters.

“I’ve had a lot of time to get these players acclimated to the program,” Batts said. “We have several new faces.”

Senior Tyler Horn, who hasn’t played since middle school, is one of the new faces, and Batts said he is a pleasant surprise. Other surprises are junior Mitchell Steele and freshman Lonnie Greene.

Batts said he is expecting a lot from senior KeSean Crosby, junior Jalen Bass and sophomore Isaiah Mallich. Junior transfer Nasheed Thompson is also in the mix for a starting spot.

He said Bass and Thompson will start along with Good and Mickens. The other spot is for grabs between Horn, Crosby and Mallich. He said all three will play a lot.

“I like this group,” Batts said. “They enjoy playing together and are close knit. We lack depth and varsity experience, but we have a lot of guys battling for playing time. They’ll all contribute. I like what I see in practice.”

The Jayhawks had a scrimmage against Armstrong on Nov. 27, and Batts called it a learning experience.

“There were more positives than negatives,” Batts said. “I felt we defended well. We were a little skittish on offense.”

Jeannette is in a tough section with the likes of Serra, Clairton and Greensburg Central Catholic. Others in Section 3-2A are Propel Braddock Hills and Winchester Thurston.

“We definitely have to take care of the ball, and we have to rebound,” Batts said. “I feel we’ll be able to score if we limit our turnovers. We have a chance to be successful.”

Batts also has assembled a difficult nonsection schedule. The Jayhawks will face California, Latrobe, play Connellsville and Greensburg Salem in the Greensburg Salem Holiday Tournament, Steel Valley, Springdale, Seton-La Salle and Geibel.

“You have to play good teams to prepare for the better teams in Class 2A,” Batts said. “We still have 11 days before we start the season. We’ll get better.”

They open the season in the West Mifflin tournament against West Allegheny. They will play either West Mifflin or Propel Andrew Street.

Jeannette boys at a glance

Coach: Adrian Batts

Last year’s record: 15-5 (7-2 Section 3-2A)

Returning starters: Shane Mickens (jr., F), Anton Good (sr., G).

Top newcomers: KeSean Crosby (sr., G), Jalen Bass (jr., F), Isaiah Mallich (so., F), Mitchell Steele (jr., F), Tyler Horn (sr., G), Lonnie Greene (fr., F), Nasheed Thompson (jr., G), Nate Gantt (sr., G).

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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