Jeannette boys zone out Clairton in bounce-back performance

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Tuesday, January 19, 2021 | 10:37 PM


Jeannette bounced back from a stunning road loss last Friday by knocking off a football rival on Tuesday.

The Jayhawks got 15 points from senior Keith Rockmore and 10 from 6-foot-8 senior center Hunter Schmidt, and defeated Clairton, 37-22, in a Section 3-2A battle at home.

Jeannette (2-1, 2-1) held the Bears scoreless in the fourth quarter.

The Jayhawks never trailed after a Rockmore basket in the first quarter gave them a 7-6 lead. Jeannette led 9-6 after a quarter thanks to seven points from Rockmore.

“This season has been bizarre,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “We did a good job holding them to 22 points, but we missed a lot of layups. In a close game, that can cost you.”

Jeannette was coming off a stunning loss at Winchester Thurston where it blew a 12-point lead at halftime. The Jayhawks were whistled for 37 fouls and had five players foul out.

“That’s never happened to me before,” Batts said.

That’s why Batts decided early on against Clairton to sit in a 2-3 zone. He wanted to protect his players because of the lack of depth and because Clairton wasn’t making shots.

The Jayhawks held the Bears to eight field goals, including two 3-pointers, and none in the fourth quarter.

Andre Henderson led Clairton (2-2) with six points.

“Sometimes we do struggle from the field,” Clairton coach Matt Geletko said. “And our defense didn’t force enough turnovers. We got decent looks; we just couldn’t put the ball in the hoop.”

A 3-pointer by James Sanders gave Jeannette a 16-10 lead at halftime.

“That was a big shot for him and the team,” Batts said.

Rockmore’s two 3-pointers in the third quarter pushed Jeannette’s lead to 29-18 and Clairton never recovered.

Jeannette only dressed eight players. They were missing four players for different reasons.

A fifth player, freshman Brad Birch, has been out with a foot injury, and Batts is hoping for his return in a few weeks. Batts said Birch is now walking without a boot.

“If we get him back, he’d give us another option,” Batts said. “He’s athletic and has leadership skills.”

In the fourth quarter, Jeannette slowed things down and senior Toby Kline, who was held scoreless, found Schmidt three times for easy layups. Kline finished with six assists.

“Toby doesn’t need to score for us to win,” Batts said. “He plays tough defense and he knows what he’s doing. He’s a leader.”

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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