Jeannette boys prepare for playoff run
Definitely not the ending to section play Jeannette head coach Adrian Batts wanted.
Batts — a staunch believer that his team can beat any other in Class AA — watched like the third driver in a two-car pileup as his team collapsed in the final two and a half minutes of an important Section 3 AA game last Tuesday at Shady Side Academy.
Jeannette played excellent defense in building a nine-point lead entering the fourth quarter and maintained the lead for most of the quarter, but then simply stopped defending and allowed Shady Side Academy to tie the game in the closing seconds sending the two teams to overtime.
Shady Side Academy out-scored Jeannette 17-11 in the final quarter. Julian Batts led all scorers in the game with 30.
“We played a great game for 30 minutes,” said Batts. “Then we played as bad as we can for two.”
The two-minute lapse and subsequent loss meant Jeannette could not leapfrog South Allegheny for second place in the section and dropped the Jayhawks to fourth — still in the playoff picture — but not where Jeannette wanted to be in the standings.
Greensburg Central Catholic came to Jeannette the second-ranked team in Class AA and with an unblemished 11-0 section record. Jeannette trailed by one after one half and Batts had a good feeling about his team’s chances.
“All season we have come out and won the third quarter. We have been great out-scoring opponents in the third,” said Batts. “We got out-scored 18-4 and never could recover.”
Jeannette’s third-quarter hiccup led to a 51-35 loss and dropped the Jayhawks to 7-5 in section play.
Jeannette will find out this week who and where it plays in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs. Batts knows his team dug itself a hole by finishing fourth in the section — a slot that requires a first-round road game against a high seed — but also knows his team is battle tested.
“We scheduled a lot of games against highly ranked teams to get ourselves ready for this time of year,” said Batts. “We’ll be ready to come out and play well in the playoffs.”