Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jayhawks Figure to Be a Contender

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Jayhawks Figure to Be a Contender

Article excerpt

Mostly known as one of the elite football programs in the WPIAL, Jeannette has shown that the gridiron isn't the only athletic venue that matters in recent years.

The Jayhawks boys basketball team has been a frequent WPIAL playoff participant over the past decade, and is primed to continue the streak this year.

Although Jeannette has been fortunate enough to play deep into February and March, the past four years has been a slight dropoff for Adrian Batts' squad as compared to the Terrelle Pryor years.

The Jayhawks have been ousted in the WPIAL quarterfinals the past four years and lost in the first or second round of the PIAA playoffs in each of those years.

Jeannette stood at 4-2 overall and 2-1 in Class AA Section 3 after winning its first home game of the season on Dec. 20 against Springdale, 56-17. They were scheduled to play Clairton Thursday in the Gateway Hoops Classic.

"Our section is pretty competitive from top to bottom," Batts said. "It is going to be a grind every night. Right now we just have to play one game at a time. It is not going to be easy. We can't afford to look ahead."

The Jayhawks are in third place in the section behind Serra Catholic and the favorite, Greensburg Central Catholic.

"[Greensburg Central Catholic is] clearly the best team," Batts said. "They have some very good players. They are just basketball players. They don't play other sports. You are going to have to play your best basketball against them and hopefully they make some mistakes along the way."

One of the reasons for the Jayhawks fast start is the balanced play, led by three year starter Julian Batts, the coach's son.

"It is a thrill [to coach him]," coach Batts said. "Obviously I am a little harder on him than the other guys. As a dad, I am proud of him. He is a solid student. As a basketball player he works on the game. …

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