Jeannette hands Serra first loss |
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Ronald Vezzani Jr.| Tribune Review Jeannette's Julian Batts drives towards the hoop against Serra's Anthony Rosso during game action on Friday, January 4, 2013.

Despite the Serra Catholic boys moving up a classification this year, coach Vince Gibbons had his team off to its best start in school history.

The Eagles went into Friday’s Section 3-AA showdown at Jeannette barely tested and undefeated.

The Jayhawks were far from impressed.

Jeannette welcomed the visiting Eagles to the upper echelon of Class AA basketball as the Jayhawks overcame a sluggish start for a convincing 77-62 win.

“That was, by far, the best team we’ve faced all year,” Gibbons said. “And maybe with the exception of Lincoln Park, they were the probably the best team we’ve faced in four years.”

The Jayhawks improved to 10-1 on the season and 4-0 in the section with sub-par games from their two stars: Julian Batts and Duke Brown.

Batts finished with 14 points, but only two came in the second half. Brown fouled out with only seven points.

“When you hold two kids like that to less than 15 points each, you are doing something right,” Gibbons said.

And when Seth Miller went out early in the first quarter also with foul trouble, the Eagles appeared to have Jeannette right where they wanted them.

Enter Damon Morton. He came off the bench to lead all scorers with 21 points and added seven rebounds.

“Damon played unbelievable,” Jeannette coach Adrian Batts said. “He is capable of doing that. It was a total team effort, and that is what we have been talking about.”

Jeannette also got 14 points from Jordan Edmunds and 13 from Miller.

Serra was paced by 6-foot-10 center George Prota’s 15 points and 17 rebounds. The Eagles put four players in double figures: Tyler Grebur (17), Max Kaminsky (13) and Joe Satira (11) combined for 41 points.

“I won’t say that they outworked us, but they were more talented than us,” Gibbons said. “Bottom line is that they had Jeannette athletes, and we had Serra athletes. I hate to lose, but I am actually pretty happy. Regardless of class, they are excellent.”

Still, Serra was able to open up 15-12 lead late in the first quarter on the strength of an 11-0 run. Seven of those points came at the foul line.

After that, it was all Jeannette.

Three-pointers by Batts and Edmunds over the final 43 seconds gave the Jayhawks the lead back. Jeannette went on to outscore Serra 30-11 over the last 8:43 of the first half to lead, 42-26, at the half.

Jeannette extended its lead to 21 early in the third quarter then cruised.

Gibbons, meanwhile, is still happy with his team.

“We are 9-1, and 95 percent of the WPIAL would love to be where we are right now,” Gibbons said.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib

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