CEDAR SPRINGS — Twice the Greenville Yellow Jackets held double digit leads and twice the Cedar Springs Red Hawks fought back.
In the end, the Yellow Jackets battled and held on for a 62-55 boys basketball season opening win on the road.
“I’m happy with our effort. The execution on a lot of issues could have been better,” Greenville coach Mark Haist said. “I didn’t question our effort at all tonight, which was really good. I thought we worked well together. We did a lot of things well.”
Greenville had a 10-point lead (24-14) midway through the second quarter, but the Red Hawks chipped away and got within two points at 26-24. The Yellow Jackets led 30-27 at halftime.
“I credit them (Cedar Springs) a lot,” Haist said. “We gave up 55 points, but I felt our half court defense was pretty good. They executed their offense like they wanted to and eventually found some breakdowns and they hit the free throw line quite a bit.”
The Yellow Jackets began the third quarter on a 15-3 run and finished leading 48-35. Alex Karatkiewicz hit the first basket of the fourth quarter to give Greenville a 50-35 lead.
“Their length and athleticism really bothered us,” Cedar Springs coach Andy Secor said. “They altered some shots that we would normally make. Some of their strengths really took us out of some of the things we wanted to do.”
Led by Isaac Golczynski and Jason Gingrich the Red Hawks fought back to make the score 52-46 with 3:07 remaining in the game. After a basket by Cameron Link the Red Hawks trailed 54-49 with 1:53 remaining.
“Our fourth quarter defense was a little less consistent,” Haist said. “We had some pour closeouts and were scrambling around, but sometimes you get caught up in those moments in the first game of the year.”
Greenville quickly got back-to-back baskets from Greg Krusniak and Chris Mickey to lead 58-49. Free throws sealed the win for the Yellow Jackets.
“I think we competed. We battled and I’m proud of our effort, but against a team that good you can’t make that many first game mistakes,” Cedar Springs coach Andy Secor said. “From myself, to our perimeter guys and our defensive mistakes.”
Gingrich and Link led the Red Hawks with 12 points each. Ryan Dines added 11 points. Austin Somerfield led Greenville with 21 points and Chris Mickey followed that up with 16 points.
“We have some stuff to work, but I thought our attitude and effort was outstanding,” Haist said.
The Greenville junior varsity team defeated Cedar Springs 57-46. Ryan Davis scored 15 points while Parker Syrjala added 12 points. Nicholas Reamer had 11 points.
Cedar Springs won the freshman game 28-14.
The Red Hawks (0-1) will host Wyoming Lee while Greenville (1-0) begins faces rival Belding on Friday.