Trib HSSN boys basketball team of the week: Week ending Feb. 8, 2020
Monday, February 10, 2020 | 6:44 PM
As Santa Claus was checking his list one final time before his big day, he may have noticed the Jeannette boys basketball team was on the naughty side.
Coming up on the holiday break, the Jayhawks were 0-1 in Section 2-2A and 1-6 overall.
Since then, Jeannette has risen to the top of the nice list and to the top of its section with 14 wins in its last 15 games.
“I think the turnaround started in practice every day,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “We started understanding our team concepts of defending, rebounding and taking great shots. That’s Jeannette basketball.”
A strong finish last week helped the Jayhawks move past Serra Catholic and Brentwood to win the section title outright.
“It was extremely important,” Batts said of winning the section. “We knew we had to win our home games, and we focused on the next team and never looked past anyone. We knew that if we won the section outright, we could possibly get a two seed.”
The week started for Jeannette with a win over playoff-bound California in the Hawks’ final home game of the season.
“California always plays well on our floor,” Batts said. “We started slow, then we started to settle down and started guarding better, and we did a great job on Malik Ramsey and our guys started to make shots.”
The regular season concluded Friday with a trip to Serra Catholic with the section championship on the line. Jeannette needed a win for the outright title while Serra was trying to earn a share of the crown.
“What a great team road win at Serra,” Batts said. “I thought the guys were trying too hard to win the game in the first quarter. We settled in on the defensive end and rebounded the ball, limiting second-chance opportunities.
“I knew that we could score, but Serra slowed us down by going zone. We were missing easy shots.”
Batts said everybody contributed to pull out the 56-53 victory.
“I thought Jackson Pruitt did a great job getting to rim and finishing,” he said. “Keith Rockmore made huge plays down the stretch along with Toby Cline. The Sanders brothers were big. Jimmy made huge free throws down the stretch, and Imani did a great job guarding Jaydin Bristol. Zach Crutchman came up big controlling the boards.”
A year ago, Jeannette was knocked off in the quarterfinals. The Jayhawks will be one of the favorites going into the Class 2A postseason as they search for their first WPIAL boys basketball title since 2008.
“I feel if we stay with our team concepts and continue to do the little things that don’t show up on stat sheets, we have a great chance to advance,” Batts said. “Now we know that we have to play extremely hard Jeannette basketball.”
Previous Trib HSSN Teams of the Week:
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• Trib HSSN May Madness: Hunter Robinson, Avonworth vs. Rachel Martindale, North Allegheny