GRAND RAPIDS — The fourth quarter was a series of runs for both the Forest Hills Eastern Hawks and Greenville Yellow Jackets girls basketball teams. It was the Hawks run that was enough for the victory.
The Yellow Jackets led 25-22 with nearly two minutes remaining in the third quarter. A 14-0 run over the next six plus minutes propelled the Hawks to a 37-35 victory in the opening round of the Cornerstone University Holiday Tournament on Monday night.
“I was disappointed in our recognition in the fourth quarter,” Greenville coach Eric Nichols said. “We didn’t rebound the ball well tonight and when you don’t rebound you will get beat.
“That was pretty evident in the second half. They were just a little hungrier than we were and I’m a little disappointed with that,” he added.
Forest Hills Eastern (2-5) led the Yellow Jackets 18-14 at halftime. Greenville opened the third quarter with a 7-2 run with five points coming from Katie Dunham.
The Yellow Jackets (3-2) used pressure defense to force turnovers and extended their lead to 25-22 after four consecutive free throws by Leah Somerfield.
“We wanted to speed the game up. That was one of the things we talked about,” Nichols said.
Lexi Reininger hit a free throw and a basket as time expired to tie the game at 25 entering the fourth quarter.
“We started hitting our shots and were able to work the ball better instead of settling for the first shot,” Hawks coach Amber Ashley said. “We worked it inside and we hit a couple of shots and our guards hit a couple of shots.”
The Hawks continued their run with four baskets by four different players including three three-pointers to jump out to a 36-25 advantage.
“We didn’t secure rebounds and they ended up taking the ball out of bounds,” Nichols. “It seemed like they hit a three every single time we needed a stop.”
Somerfield dropped five consecutive points to get the Yellow Jackets within four points at 36-32 with 44 seconds remaining.
After a missed Hawks free throw Greenville’s Mackenzy Nichols drained a three-pointer to make the score 36-35. But just 13 seconds remained.
Jaclyn Goble hit a free throw and Nichols missed a baseline desperation shot at the buzzer for the Hawks win.
“My girls have been working so hard. Last year we didn’t get a win,” Ashley said. “We’ve won two in a row and they have learned how to finish a game. I thought we played great man-to-man defense and we shot the ball well tonight.”
“Offensively, we became dysfunctional,” Nichols said of the beginning of the fourth quarter. “Some of the things we continue to work on we need to see it carry over from practice. We didn’t see that tonight.”
Somerfield scored a game-high 20 points to go along with 14 rebounds. Nichols had eight points and Dunham seven points. Taylor Baker had four steals.
The Hawks had seven players score and were led with eight points by Taylor Winchester and Alyssa Vandenberge.
Jenison defeated Zeeland East 52-45 in the early game on Monday. The Yellow Jackets will face Zeeland East on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Cornerstone University.
Greenville 5 9 11 10 — 35
FH Eastern 11 7 7 12 — 37
GREENVILLE (3-2) — Nichols 3 0-0 8, Dunham 3 1-2 7, Somerfield 6 8-10 20. Totals: 12 9-12 35. Three-point goals: Nichols 2. Total Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.
(2-5) — T. Winchestet 1 0-0 3, J. Goble 2 1-3 7, Jantz 1 0-0 3, Harvey 2 0-0 5, Vandenberge 4 0-0 8, Reininger 1-5 5, Fatum 3 0-0 6. Totals: 15 2-8 37. Three-point goals: J. Goble 2, T. Winchester, Jantz, Harvey. Total fouls: 13. Fouled out: None.