Jeannette basketball coach Rick Klimchock called Friday’s victory against visiting Greensburg Central Catholic his team’s best defensive effort of the season.
It was a good thing that Jeannette played well defensively, because its offense took the night off.
Jeannette overcame a poor shooting effort to defeat rival Greensburg Central Catholic 52-40 in a battle for second place in Section 1-AA. Both teams had WPIAL playoffs berths wrapped up prior to the game.
The playoffs are scheduled to begin next weekend. The teams will find out who they play against at Tuesday’s WPIAL basketball pairings meeting.
“It’s the best we’ve concentrated and played defense this season,” said Klimchock, whose team improved to 18-5 overall and 11-3 in the section. “We did a good job getting the ball inside, and I thought we rebounded great.”
Klimchock was especially pleased with the effort that Mike Dent, Chris Errett, Mike Niccols and Jurelle Powell did on the boards. Jeannette outrebounded Greensburg Central Catholic 53-42.
Errett had 12 rebounds, eight on the offensive end, and Dent added 10. Giancarlo Maragni had 10 rebounds for Greensburg Central Catholic, which fell to 15-9, 9-5.
Jeannette used a 12-3 run late in the second quarter to grab a 28-22 lead at halftime. Dent’s breakaway dunk punctuated the run for the Jayhawks.
Dent scored five points and senior guard Rich Gregory added four free throws during the run.
Dent finished with a game-high 19 points and Gregory added 10.
“We’ve had a bad week,” Greensburg Central Catholic coach Bill Burkart said. “We’ve had four players out with the flu and we need to get healthy.
“That’s not why we lost. We had our opportunities. We just committed too many turnovers against Jeannette’s 2-2-1 press. I thought they did a good job disrupting our flow.”
Greensburg Central Catholic committed 21 turnovers and never seemed to get into an offensive flow.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well. They combined for 2 for 40 from beyond the 3-point line. Jeannette finished 19 of 59 for the game, and GCC was only 12 for 48.
Jeannette used another surge in the second half to put the game out of reach. Leading 36-30 with 1:45 left in the third quarter, the Jayhawks went on a 9-0 run to take a commanding 45-30 lead.
“I felt we did a great job shifting from our press to our zone,” Klimchock said. “We didn’t give them too many easy shots.
“I also thought the Don Binda, Powell and Anthony Matt contributed off the bench, and that Jordan Thomas and Rich (Gregory) handled their pressure well.”
Tom Kimble led GCC with 13 points, and Maragni came off the bench to score 10. Warren Schaeffer contributed five steals and six assists for the Centurions.
“It’s been a long season,” Burkart said. “I just hope the basketball committee gives us a decent seed and they look and see how good this section is.”