Yellow Jackets adapting to new basketball coach

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 10:09 am on Thursday, December 29, 2011

GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets girls basketball team wrapped up the 2011 portion of its season with a win over Zeeland East at the Cornerstone University Holiday Tournament on Dec. 21.

With the 50-45 win, the Yellow Jackets (4-2, 0-1) snapped a two-game losing streak. Leah Somerfield scored 17 points while Katie Dunham added 11 points in the win.

“I thought we did a nice job and had some of our younger kids step up and play pretty well,” Greenville coach Eric Nichols said. “I was happy with that.”

Greenville lost a close game 37-35 to Forest Hills Eastern to open the holiday tournament.

“We definitely improved in game two,” Nichols said of the tournament. “We had to run our stuff and we did. We did a good job offensively.”

Greenville’s other loss came to O-K White rival East Grand Rapids on Dec. 16. The Pioneers (6-0) are one of the top teams in the state.

Nichols, in his first year as coach, said the team is recognizing offensive opportunities better now than earlier in the season.

“The kids are starting to recognize things offensively. The biggest change was Xs and Os,” he said. “Other than not playing well against East we have done some pretty decent stuff offensively.”

Somerfield, a sophomore, is leading the Yellow Jackets in scoring and rebounding at 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.

“Leah comes to play every night,” Nichols said. “One of the things we talked about was trying to find balance inside and outside. One of the things that has allowed us to be successful is being strong inside.”

Nichols said the team is going to have to be strong later in the season from the perimeter as teams begin to collapse and double Somerfield.

A needed area of improvement for the Yellow Jackets is at the free throw line.

“We can still get better at the free throw line. We are getting there, but we are shooting at about a 50 percent clip as a team,” Nichols said. “That has to get better. Offensively, that is the only thing I’m really concerned about.”

Greenville returns to action after the break with a pair of home games against Grand Rapids Creston on Jan. 6 and Muskegon Mona Shores on Jan. 10.

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