GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets started strong and finished even stronger against the East Grand Rapids Pioneers.
Torrey Davis scored seven first half points en route to a 21-point effort as the Yellow Jackets defeated the Pioneers 65-48 on Friday night. The win gives the Yellow Jackets an early boost in the O-K White Conference race as they improved to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the league.
East Grand Rapids (0-2, 0-1) scored the game’s first basket before the Yellow Jackets reeled off a 9-2 run keyed by Davis. The Pioneers got within two points at 12-10 when the Yellow Jackets again went on an 8-0 run to finish the first quarter with a 20-10 advantage. The final three points were courtesy of a Curtis Heppe half-court shot as the buzzer sounded.
After the first quarter, the Pioneers never got within six points and never made a run of more than four points the entire game.
“Our intensity was really good, the defense stepped up and we did everything we needed to do to win,” Greenville senior Aaron Crebessa said. “We have aspects we can improve on, but overall we did our best tonight.”
Greenville maintained at least a 10-point lead until the final seconds of the second quarter when Marcus Hall hit a shot for the Pioneers. The Yellow Jackets led 30-21 at halftime.
“We had an answer for everything they did tonight,” Greenville coach Mark Haist said. “If we box out early in the game I think we put a big dent in between us. I think we outplayed them in every aspect of the game except rebounding.”
Hall opened the third quarter with a three-pointer to pull the Pioneers within 30-24. Greenville had another answer as they went on a 7-0 run to expand their lead to 13 points.
“We shot the ball, probably better than we usually do,” Haist said. “But they are playing with confidence and that is half the battle when it comes to shooting.”
In the fourth quarter, Davis gave the Yellow Jackets a 55-40 lead with a three-pointer and just 3:26 remaining. East scored the next two baskets to trail 55-44.
The Pioneers were called for a foul a short time later and also picked up a technical foul. Greenville missed all three of its free throws, but scored three consecutive baskets to put the game out of reach at 61-44.
“One of our main goals this year was to prove ourselves,” Crebessa said. “We don’t feel we were ranked fairly and we want to prove ourselves.”
The Yellow Jackets proved themselves and then some on Friday. Austin Somerfield put an exclamation point on the victory with a left-handed slam dunk for the Yellow Jackets’ final points of the night.
Chris Mickey scored 15 points and Somerfield added 14 for the Yellow Jackets.
Austin Howell and Marcus Hall each scored 14 points for the Pioneers.
“It’s a pretty big win, but we are playing it one game at a time,” Crebessa said. “We feel we can compete with anyone in the conference now.”
The Yellow Jackets are off until Dec. 28 when the take on Byron Center at Cornerstone University Holiday Tournament.