Shenango mans up, knocks off Jeannette in boys Class 2A quarters

Friday, February 21, 2020 | 9:27 PM

Shenango had planned to come out in a 3-2 zone defense against Jeannette in the WPIAL Class 2A boys basketball quarterfinals, but coach Bob McQuiston had an 11th hour change of heart.

“I was laying on bed (Thursday night) thinking about it, and I thought, ‘You know what? Let’s just do what we do best,” McQuiston said.

That meant playing the Jayhawks straight up, man-to-man.

“I called my assistants (Friday) afternoon and made the change,” McQuiston said.

He had no regrets.

The Wildcats executed the scheme rather flawlessly, crowding the lane and forcing third-seeded Jeannette to take tough shots. The pressure helped No. 6 Shenango craft a mostly one-sided 52-34 victory and a trip to the semifinals for the first time since 2004.

Senior Colin McQuiston scored 18 points, junior Ryan Lenhart added 12 and senior Jason Kraner had 11 in the victory Friday night at Norwin.

The Wildcats (19-5), in the quarterfinals for the third straight year, will play second-seeded Sto-Rox (17-7) on Tuesday in the semifinals.

Jeannette (15-8) can make the PIAA playoffs if Shenango makes it to the WPIAL final.

The Jayhawks, who had won 14 of their last 15 games but sat since Feb. 7 with a first-round bye, were seeking their fourth semifinal appearance since 2015.

“Not to take anything away from them, they’re a very good team from a very good section,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “But we didn’t shoot it well. And we’re supposed to be the (best) defensive team in Double-A. They were tonight.”

Jeannette beat Shenango two years ago in the quarterfinals at Gateway, 74-69. When Terrelle Pryor was a junior in ‘07, Jeannette also topped the Wildcats in the quarters, 81-62.

“The third time is the charm, I guess,” Bob McQuiston said. “Their guards are so quick, so we wanted to try and slow them down. This is a great win for our program.”

Jeannette played with the Wildcats early as it trailed just 14-11 after one quarter.

But the Jayhawks looked disheveled in the second quarter when it found itself on the wrong end of a 13-0 run. Suddenly, they were down 26-11 and lacked rhythm on offense.

“We never got started,” Batts said. “They were a tough matchup.”

Junior Toby Cline opened the second half with a 3-point play for Jeannette to make it 29-18, and the Jayhawks used a short-range hoop from 6-foot-7 junior center Hunter Schmidt to cut it to 32-23 with 3:30 left in the third.

But Colin McQuiston, a 1,379-point career scorer who is third on the program’s scoring list, scored six straight points to give Shenango a 38-25 lead. He had nine in each half.

He quickly recovered after taking a hard fall onto his lower back late in the third.

Cline hit a 3-pointer to make it 38-28, but the Wildcats stretched the margin to 18 midway through the fourth as Kraner made a driving layup,

Case Butchelle converted a 3-point play and McQuiston made two free throws to make it 48-30.

The advantage reached 20 (51-31) as Jeannette failed to kick-start a run.

Cline led Jeannette with 11 points, and senior Jackson Pruitt added eight.

Batts thought the bye, while a positive, had a negative effect on his team.

“Fourteen days,” he said. “We’d probably rather have played than have to sit.”

Shenango made 20 of 31 free throws.

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

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