Surprise: Pryor a force in overtime win
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Terrelle Pryor jawed with the South Fayette student section a few times in yesterday's contest. Two South Fayette students were escorted by police out of the gymnasium during the WPIAL Class AA playoff game.
After the contest, Pryor had to be held back from a confrontation with the students.
"People kept saying things," Pryor said. "I try not to listen to it, but it makes you mad."
Pryor's best response to the jaunts was what he did on the court, propelling Jeannette to a 64-54 overtime victory against a young, but talented South Fayette team at Baldwin High School.
Look at Pryor's statistical line and it wouldn't be an overstatement to say he had one of the best performances in recent WPIAL playoff history. A 6-foot-6 senior, he had 24 points, 24 rebounds, 8 blocked shots, 7 assists and 2 dunks.
With Pryor such performances, whether in basketball or football, are almost commonplace.
"I thought this was his best game of the year," Jeannette coach Jim Nesser said. "This is really our first close game all year. He hasn't really had to do what he did today."
Believe it or not, Pryor isn't invincible. He missed a 3-point attempt with three seconds left in regulation that would have given Jeannette the win.
"I knew we were still going to win, regardless of that," Pryor said with a confident laugh.
Jeannette (18-4) outscored South Fayette, 10-4, in the first 2:30 of the overtime and Pryor had a hand in seven of those points. He scored five and made a nice pass to Cameron Baradzeij for a layup that put Jeannette ahead, 59-53, with 1:32 remaining.
The victory puts Jeannette into the semifinals against Bishop Canevin, a 60-48 winner against Monessen. It was a tough ending for a South Fayette team that started two freshmen, a sophomore and a junior. The Lions (20-6) came back from a five-point deficit in the final minute to force overtime.
"I think our kids might have had something to prove here," South Fayette coach Rich Bonnaure said. "I think they're just a little under the radar."
"To be honest, when you're up five points, you're supposed to finish the game. We got lucky winning in overtime," Nesser said.
Senior forward Zack Patterson had 16 points for South Fayette and freshman guard Pat Zedreck 11. But the Lions had no answer for Pryor or Jeannette junior guard Jordan Hall, who added 22 points.
"They're not the toughest team to defend X and O wise," Bonnaure said. "It's just the athletes they have.
"Pryor is a great athlete. The thing we did best early in the game was keep him off the boards. But that gets hard to do as the game goes on."
Nesser said, "He did what he had to do to get us over the top."
South Fayette had an eight-point lead in the first half, but Jeannette came back and held a 31-29 lead at the half. The game was close through most of the second half before Jeannette opened a 49-44 advantage with 3:03 left. But the Jayhawks didn't score again in regulation.
Hall hit a 3-pointer to give Jeannette the lead for good in overtime, 54-52. Pryor made two free throws with 2:51 remaining to put Jeannette ahead, 56-52.
"I think we took them too lightly," Pryor said. "That's another lesson to be learned."
After the game, Pryor was hounded by a dozen young kids, wanting autographs. Pryor, who still hasn't made a college decision for football, signed them all outside the locker room.
"To be honest, he seems more relaxed than he did a couple weeks ago," Nesser said of Pryor. "He seems more at ease. I talked to one of the football head coaches who's recruiting him and he told me, 'Terrelle's focus is on winning a WPIAL basketball championship.'"
First Published February 17, 2008 12:00 am