GRAND RAPIDS — The Greenville Yellow Jackets boys basketball team faced its biggest test of the season on Friday night on the road.
Like the previous eight games, they passed the test.
The Yellow Jackets marched into the Quest Center at Grand Rapids Christian High School and defeated the defending O-K White Conference champion Eagles in convincing fashion. Greenville never trailed in the 74-65 win.
The win over the highly touted Eagles gives the Yellow Jackets a perfect 9-0 record. Their 3-0 league record puts them all alone in first place.
“It feels great. People thought we were underdogs,” Greenville senior Chris Mickey said of the win. “We didn’t think we were underdogs. We thought we could match up with them and go toe-to-toe. We showed that. They are a top-tier team, but we are a top-tier team too.”
Mickey opened the game with consecutive baskets as Greenville jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back. Mickey hit shot after shot while scoring a game-high 30 points.
Greenville led 16-12 after the first quarter and 35-30 at halftime.
“We started out with the lead. We didn’t dig ourselves a hole,” Greenville senior Torrey Davis said. “If we would have been in a hole that could have gotten us in trouble.”
The Yellow Jackets extended their lead with a 16-4 run in the third quarter. With the score 38-34, Austin Somerfield scored five straight Greenville points to take a 54-38 advantage.
A three-point shot by the Eagles’ Division 1 recruit Drake Harris at the buzzer made the score 54-41 at the end of three quarters.
“We contested every shot in the paint and did a good job of rebounding for the most part,” Greenville coach Mark Haist said.
The Eagles trimmed the lead in the fourth quarter, but the Greenville lead never got below six points. Greenville hit 4-of-6 free throws in the final seconds to help seal the win.
Overall, Greenville was 29-of-42 from the free throw line.
“There was a lot of fouls,” Mickey said. “They call them free for something. You have to make them if you want to win.”
Somerfield added 23 points while Davis had 11 points.
“It was a great effort. We held off a late rush by them and I thought the guys kept their composure when they could have collapsed,” Haist said. “We hit some free throws, broke some traps and I thought we played well.”
Harris scored 25 points with four three-pointers to lead the Eagles. The Eagles knocked down 10 three-pointers in the game.
The Yellow Jackets play on the road Tuesday at Holland.
“We talked about one game at a time,” Haist said of the win. “I told the guys to be happy till Monday and then we have to get back to work.”