Greenville boys basketball team focusing on Northview, not rankings


By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 10:27 am on Thursday, January 26, 2012

Greenville’s Miguel Nieto plays tight defense during a game this season at Cornerstone University. The Yellow Jackets (11-0) will host Northview on Friday.

GREENVILLE — The last time the Greenville Yellow Jackets faced the Northview Wildcats it was in the 2011 district finals.

The end result favored the Wildcats with a two-point victory at home and continued the Yellow Jackets’ district title drought. Greenville last won a district championship in 1983.

When the Wildcats visit North Gym on Friday the Yellow Jackets won’t be looking for revenge from last year’s game, but looking to continue its outstanding season this year.

The Yellow Jackets are a perfect 11-0 (4-0 in O-K White) this year and ranked 13th overall in Class A by the Associated Press.

Northview (6-4, 2-2) is coming off back-to-back wins over East Grand Rapids and Mona Shores since their last loss to Lowell on Jan. 13.

“I think they had a lot of pressure on them early. From what I hear they had some chemistry issues, but maybe they are pressing a little bit,” Greenville coach Mark Haist said. “I watched them last night (Tuesday) Rich (Kevin) and Kapustka (Darren) can still shoot the lights out. And they have a big kid that can shoot along the baseline.”

Despite the four losses, Haist said they are preparing for a very good Northview team on Friday.

“They are going to be well coached and very disciplined,” Haist said. “We have to make sure we are disciplined and take care of business.”

The Wildcats like to pack their defense inside and force the outside shot. Greenville can shoot the three, but they dominate inside and would like for that to continue.

“We have to make sure we reverse the ball and still work through the post,” Haist said. “We can’t settle for outside shots. There is a reason they are packing it in. We’re good at getting to the basket and getting it into the post.”

In addition to playing a quality team in Northview the Yellow Jackets are playing with a target on their back. Being undefeated more than half way through the season will bring out that target.

“We’ve talked about the big picture. We have a target on our back and have to bring it every game,” Haist said. “It’s one game at a time. We can’t take anything for granted.”

A perfect example was Greenville’s win on Friday. The win was anything but easy at Lowell (3-6).

The Yellow Jackets led by nine after the first quarter, but was tied at halftime and up by just three with a quarter remaining. Greenville did pull out the 58-52 win.

“Our conference is a very strong conference and we have to be ready,” Haist said. “I don’t care about any of that other stuff.”

Greenville travels to East Grand Rapids and GR Creston next week to finish up a stretch of six of seven road games.

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