2nd-half surge carries No. 2 Greensburg Central Catholic over rival Jeannette

Tuesday, January 11, 2022 | 10:11 PM

A Greensburg Central Catholic student brought a bass drum into the student section, but an official told him it was not permitted, so it was removed from the raucous gymnasium.

Instead of a drum, GCC beat Jeannette.

With a revved-up second half after a surprisingly slow start, the No. 2 Centurions rallied and eventually stormed past rival Jeannette, 63-43, in a Section 3-2A game Tuesday night before a packed house in their long-awaited home opener.

This game turned on a dime. What started as a potential upset ended favorably for the Centurions.

“We just said, this is our floor,” said GCC sophomore guard Tyree Turner, who fueled a big second half. “We settled down and played. Our zone started to blossom and gave us better chances. This game shows us we can play with anybody in the section.”

Despite missing its leading scorer, senior Nas Thompson, who did not play for undisclosed reasons, Jeannette (6-3, 1-1) came out with energy and built leads of 17-11 after the first quarter and 33-30 at halftime.

The Jayhawks used second-chance baskets and open cuts to get high-percentage looks.

But GCC (7-1, 2-0), also down a starter in senior guard Dylan Parsons, who did not play, quickly erased the stronghold and raced past the Jayhawks with a 20-6 third-quarter surge that spilled into the fourth.

Jeannette, which managed just four field goals after halftime and was outscored 33-10 in the second half, had won three in a row.

“We got downhill in the third quarter,” GCC coach Christian Hyland said. “This was an awesome game. It was great to play with so many fans. There were so many people screaming … I couldn’t hear myself.”

As the tide drastically turned, Jeannette went without a field goal for more than seven minutes in the second half as Turner and senior Brevan Williams turned up the pressure on the Jayhawks.

Turner scored 13 of his 20 points in the third, while Williams had a game-high 26 — 14 in the first half — to lead GCC to its seventh straight victory.

Consider: Turner and Williams combined to outscore the Jayhawks, 46-43.

“We were sort of shocked early, and it was so loud,” Williams said. “But we adjusted to it. We made some changes in the second half.”

Jeannette led the entire first half, but Turner made a floater in the lane to beat the second-quarter buzzer and cut the lead to 33-30 heading to the third.

It was 38-36 Jeannette after a 3-pointer by sophomore Isaiah Mallich, but that’s when GCC went to work.

Turner scored eight of GCC’s next 15 points to end the quarter, including a tough driving layup for an and-1, and suddenly the Centurions had a 50-39 advantage.

“Tyree is the quarterback of the football team,” Hyland said. “He carries over that leadership onto the court. We relied on our seniors, Brevan, Ryan (Appleby) and Garrett (Sherwin), but Tyree may as well be a senior, too, because he plays like one.”

All told, a 20-1 run gave GCC a 56-39 lead and Jeannette, which lost senior Anton Good to a turned ankle early in the fourth, had no answer.

“We lost, but GCC didn’t beat us,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “We beat ourselves. This didn’t feel like a 20-point game.”

Another and-1 finish by sophomore Anthony Semelka and a breakaway dunk by Williams pushed it to 61-41.

“You have to be ready to play early (in the second half),” Batts said. “The shots we made in the first half weren’t falling in the second half. Anton turning his ankle didn’t help. The thing is, we want teams to zone us. We just stood around and didn’t make shots.”

Junior Shane Mickens led Jeannette with 17 points, 14 in the first half, and Good finished with 10.

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

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