Boys Basketball - Greensburg Central Catholic vs Jeannette
Fifty-Point Second Half Powers GCC to 75-60 Win over Rival Jeannette
It has been said that big things come in small packages. When it come to enrollment size, Greensburg Central Catholic and Jeannette have two of the smallest enrollments in Westmoreland County. But there is nothing small about the rivalry between the two when it comes to sporting events. To describe it as intense would be an understatement.
Proof of that was on full display on Friday, January 6, as the Centurions and the Jayhawks boys basketball squads met on the hardwood in front of a standing-room-only crowd at GCC's gym in Carbon. The fans were deafeningly loud. The players played with a chip on their shoulder for the entire game. And when this first of their two Class 2A Section 3 matchups on the season was over, the Centurions walked away with bragging rights and a 75-60 win.
Jeannette brought the fans to their feet first when Giovanni Merola drained a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to open the game. GCC answered by going on an 11-point run, opening a 11-3 lead with 2 minutes left in the opening quarter, as Tyree Turner and Ryan Kimmel combined to do the damage. But Jeannette stormed back to on a run of their own, and trailed 11-9 as the quarter closed.
Jeannette continued their run in the second quarter, tying the game at 11 in the opening minute. The Jayhawks went on top 13-11 at the 6:50 mark of the quarter, and led until GCC finally stopped the bleeding with a field goal to tie the game at 13 with 5:42 left until the half. The Centurions retook the lead with just under 3 minutes on the clock, building up a 25-18 lead as the clock headed toward zeroes. Jeannette ended the half with a spark as Isaiah Mallich's hail-Mary toss from near mid-court banked off the glass for 3, cutting the Jayhawks' deficit to 25-21 at intermission.
Like a snowball rolling downhill, the third quarter brought an increase in the speed and intensity of a game that was already pegging the noise meters. Five players for each team had points in the quarter. Jeannette had 16 points, led by Merola with 7. GCC's Samir Crosby saw his first points of the game as he poured in 8 of the 22 for his Centurions. The officials called two technical fouls on Jeannette and one on GCC before the quarter ended with the Centurions leading 47-37.
The final quarter was more of the same. More scoring, more noise, and more trips to the free throw line for both teams. The officials, determined to not let the game get out of their control, assessed an additional technical foul to each team before it was over. GCC's Franco Alvarez was a beast in the paint, scoring 14 of his 20 points in the final frame, while Jeannette spread their 4th quarter points over 7 players. With GCC comfortably on top in the closing minutes, bench players from both teams saw action, and the Centurions watched the clock expire with a 75-60 win in round one of the season series.
GCC's Franco Alvarez led all scorers with 20, with Tyree Turner right behind with 19 and Samir Crosby with 11. For Jeannette, Giovanni Merola had 16, Shane Mickens 14, and Isaiah Mallich 10. GCC attempted 24 free throws in the second half, converting 13. Jeannette put up 15 from the line in the second half, making 12.
GCC (7-4, 3-1) will make a trip to Berlin Brothersvalley for a non-conference matchup on 1/9. Next up for Jeannette (6-4, 1-2) is a home game with section co-leader Clairton on 1/10.
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Keywords: basketball, boys, gcc, high school, jeannette, westmoreland county
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