Jeannette puts together complete effort in routing Serra Catholic

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 | 10:44 PM

Even though Jeannette coach Adrian Batts was hoarse from imploring his team all game, it wasn’t going to stop him from talking about the enjoyment he got from watching his team execute Tuesday night.

From strong defense, to good ball movement, to shooting well, the Jayhawks did pretty much everything Batts asked, and they pulled away for a 75-47 win over Serra Catholic, The win moved Jeannette into a three-way tie for first place at the end of the first round of Section 2-2A play.

Jeannette, Brentwood and Serra Catholic are 5-1 in the section standings. The win was the seventh in a row for the Jayhawks.

“The last three weeks we’ve been playing really well,” Batts said. “I told the guys before the game that if we defend without fouling that this was a double-digit win for us. I thought we could make some shots, but I didn’t think we’d shoot that well. We’ve been playing solid as a team top to bottom.

“This has become a rivalry game (with Serra Catholic), and the rivalry games are usually close, but if you make some shots and free throws, you have a chance to break it open.”

Serra Catholic (7-6, 6-1) led 15-10 at the end of the first quarter, but Jeannette (8-6, 5-1) took a 22-21 lead thanks to an 8-0 run midway through the quarter. Jeannette finished the half on a 9-2 run and took a 31-23 lead at halftime.

The second quarter was highlighted by eight points from Anton Good off the bench. Good finished with a game-high 24 points.

“Anton’s great. As a sophomore to put up numbers. … I mean, I can’t remember the last time we had a sophomore put up numbers like that, especially coming off the bench,” Jeannette senior Jackson Pruitt said. “He works really hard in practice. He’s one of those guys that pays attention. I think he has a really bright future ahead of him. He’s smart. If he keeps this up, I think he’s going to go big places.”

Serra Catholic got within 40-37 in the third quarter, but Jeannette answered with a 10-0 run capped by a pair of 3-pointers. Jimmy Sanders made the first one, and after a Serra turnover seconds later, Pruitt made one from the top of the key. The Eagles never got within nine points after Pruitt’s 3-pointer.

“It felt good, because my shots haven’t really been falling, and I’ve had to get to the rim,” Pruitt said. “I got a steal right before that, and I just shot it and when it in it felt really good.”

Pruitt finished with 16 points.

Serra Catholic was plagued by free-throw woes, going 7 for 24 from the line. The Eagles were in the double bonus for the fourth quarter but went only 3 for 10 from the free-throw line.

“It was out of character,” Serra Catholic coach Justin Walther said. “We typically shoot 67%, and tonight, we’re 7 for 24. We thought we could get back into the game in the fourth if we could get to the foul line, and we got to the foul line but we went 1 for 6 in a stretch where we got some stops. We were pleased with those stops because we played bad defense all night. That defense wasn’t us.”

Jayden Bristol, the lone returning starter from last year’s WPIAL championship team, led the Eagles with 17 points. Mark Thomas added 11 points.

Serra Catholic hosts Jeannette on Feb. 4 to conclude section play.

“I think we were shocked back into reality a little bit tonight, but overall we’re happy where we are at,” Walther said. “They outplayed us tonight, but we get to see them again at our place. It’ll be a packed house on a Friday night, and it’ll be fun.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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