GREENVILLE — In the end it was free throw shooting that sealed another win for the Greenville Yellow Jackets boys basketball team.
The Yellow Jackets led by as many as 22 points in the first half against O-K White rival Northview. They needed to finish the game with five consecutive free throws to clinch a 61-56 victory at home on Friday night.
The Yellow Jackets (12-0, 5-0) were ahead 33-11 when the Wildcats banked that three-pointer. That shot got the Wildcats rolling as they pulled to within 11 points at the half and trailed 33-22.
“We didn’t miss in the first half. Austin (Somerfield), especially,” Greenville coach Mark Haist said. “We played really good defense. They (Northview) banked a three and all of a sudden the lid was off the basket.”
Greenville opened a 41-26 advantage in the third quarter before the Wildcats began another run. Kevin Rich keyed an 11-2 run to pull the Wildcats within eight at the end of three quarters.
“Our first half defense I thought was good,” Haist said. “The second half we lost the Ruschmann (Ryan) kid. We needed to make an adjustment to guard him a little tighter after he hit some shots.”
Rushmann scored 10 consecutive points for the Wildcats including two of his five three-pointers on the night the fourth. With Ruschmann’s help the Wildcats got to within three points with 3:10 remaining.
Greenville’s Chris Mickey made a nice dish to Greg Krusniak, on the baseline, who scored the basket and was fouled. His free throw put Greenville up by six points with 1:53 remaining.
Another Ruschmann three-pointer and layup by Darren Kapustka made the score 57-56 in favor of Greenville with just one minute left.
That’s when Somerfield and Torrey Davis hit four consecutive free throws to seal their 12th win of the season.
“Our kids played hard. I do think we took some ill-advised shots in the third quarter,” Haist said. “Northview’s defense is great. They do a great job of taking away the inside.”
Greenville’s defense held Northview’s (6-5, 2-3) top two players, Kapustka and Rich to 26 points. Kapustka never attempted a free throw, even though he usually shoots double-diget free throws.
“Give Torrey Davis a ton of credit for that,” Haist said. “He used his length and athleticism to stay in front and stop him.”
Somerfield led the Yellow Jackets with 22 points. Mickey added 10 points. Rushmann finished with 21 points.
Greenville travels to East Grand Rapids on Tuesday and GR Creston on Friday.
Northview 9 13 15 19 — 56
Greenville 22 11 12 16 — 61
NORTHVIEW (6-5) — Meadows 1 0-0 2, Kapustka 7 0-0 15, Rich 5 1-2 11, Ruschmann 7 2-2 21, Slotsema 0 2-2 2, Alber 1 0-0 2, Tull 1 0-0 3. Totals: 22 5-6 56. Three-point goals: Ruschmann 5, Kapustka, Tull. Total fouls: 18. Fouled out: None.
GREENVILLE (12-0) — Davis 3 3-3 9, Crebessa 3 0-1 8, Somerfield 5 10-11 22, Boehm 2 0-0 4, Mickey 4 2-3 10, Krusniak 3 2-3 8. Totals: 20 17-21 61. Three-point goals: Crebessa 2, Somerfield 2. Total fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.