Westmoreland basketball notebook: Jeannette fights through injuries

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Thursday, February 4, 2021 | 6:54 PM


Adrian Batts wonders what his Jeannette boys basketball team could look like in a couple of weeks. He tries not to get too used to what it has looked like in recent games — particularly his thin bench.

Even still, he bristles when he thinks what the Class 2A No. 5 Jayhawks could resemble minus another body or two.

Don’t even go there.

“We had a practice the other day where we only had eight guys,” Batts said. “We had to go 4-on-4. We had to cancel a game because we only had six (healthy) guys. It’s been crazy.”

A team that began the year with depth is looking for some nearly halfway into the season.

The missing are an assortment of injuries and personal issues.

Would-be junior starting guard Anton Good has not played yet, sophomores reserve guards Jaydin Canady and Noah Sanders have been out, sophomore forward and key rebounder Shane Mickens has missed time and freshman guard Brad Birch has yet to play a game.

Against Greensburg Salem, Jeannette played some underclassmen who don’t usually see minutes — call-ups, if you will — to compensate for the short bench.

Jeannette has been getting strong minutes from its usual starters — senior guards Toby Cline, James Sanders and Keith Rockmore, along with senior center Hunter Schmidt.

Sophomore Ryan Kimmel has been an effective rebounder as his minutes have increased.

Now it’s a question of how many players will make up the rotation as the season moves forward.

“I remember years when I had 18 guys, and I’m thinking, it’s too many, who do I play?” Batts said. “Now it’s like, we don’t have much to work with.

“We’ll get back to full tilt. I’m looking forward to seeing that.”

Rivalry rematch

The big local game Friday night features No. 5 Jeannette (6-2, 4-1) visiting No. 4 Greensburg Central Catholic (8-1, 5-1) for first place in Section 3-2A.

When the teams played Jan. 12 at Jeannette, the Jayhawks won their opener 47-46 as Keith Rockmore scored on a putback with 5 seconds left.

GCC has won seven in a row since.

Big night for Bushey

Derry senior guard Ryan Bushey had a career night last Friday when the Trojans held off Knoch, 64-61.

Bushey erupted for 41 points, the most points in a game by a Trojan in at least 13 years. Kyle Schmitt had 38 against East Allegheny in 1999.

Bushey’s efficiency was impressive. He made 16 of 23 shots, 13 of 18 2-pointers, 3 of 5 3-pointers and 6 of 13 free throws.

He had 14 in the first quarter.

“I couldn’t have had the night I had without my teammates,” Bushey said.

“They gave me the confidence, and they trusted me with the ball all night and I went and made some plays. The first couple games of the season my shots weren’t falling, but my coaches and teammates told me to just keep shooting and they finally fell. It truly started with our defense. Knoch has some great scorers, and they showed that in the first half, but we stuck to our gameplan and got the big stops when we needed them and I couldn’t be prouder of our guys for their effort.”

Playoff deadline

The WPIAL is giving teams until 3 p.m. Feb. 18 to opt in for the open basketball playoffs. All teams are eligible to participate this season.

Teams must come to terms on varying face mask policies to play in the postseason.

The WPIAL steering committee will meet Feb. 23 to seed the tournaments. The opening games could be as early as Feb. 27.

Only the 12 WPIAL champions will advance to the PIAA playoffs.

Semi-Fro

Greensburg Salem senior guard Cade Cavanaugh debuted an interesting look last weekend in the Golden Lions’ long-delayed season opener. He had a curly head of hair, pushed back slightly by a headband.

Was that Cavanaugh or Jackie Moon, the zany owner-coach-player of the American Basketball Association’s Flint Michigan Tropics in the film, “Semi-Pro”?

“It’s almost been a year since I have cut my hair,” Cavanaugh said. “I started growing it out right after last basketball season. I started going with it and started wearing a head band, naturally, to keep the hair out of my eyes. My friends, my parents started calling me (Jackie Moon) and it just stuck. I think the Jackie Moon fro is going to be around for a while.”

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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