GREENVILLE — One is a senior and the other a sophomore. One plays for the Greenville boys varsity basketball team and the other for the Greenville girls varsity basketball team. One is refining his basketball game. The other is still developing her basketball game.
Both are currently leading their respective teams in scoring and rebounding. Both draw the attention of double-teams and more each night. Both enjoy nothing more than being on the basketball court.
Oh, they are related too. They are the brother/sister tandem of Austin and Leah Somerfield.
At 6-foot-6 tall, Austin is dominating the opponents of the Yellow Jackets and has helped the team to a perfect 13-0 season thus far. Austin, a senior, is averaging 18.6 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game.
“Every game, we know that Austin is going to go hard. Not just on offense either. He outworks everyone on the other team because he wants to be successful,” Greenville coach Mark Haist said. “Austin is also extremely coachable. When we tell him to try something, he goes and executes it with no hesitation and no excuses. This is a trait that will make him successful down the road. He takes constructive criticism and gets better because of it.”
After a good year as a junior, Austin is having a great season as a senior. A season that has drawn the attention of multiple college recruiters each game.
“Everything we are doing, it’s just clicking,” Austin said of the team’s season. “From our guards to our big men we all share the ball and everything is just working for us right now.”
The Yellow Jackets boys team is senior dominated. A team that has played together for a long time. The team’s chemistry is easily recognizable.
“All the seniors, we’ve played together all our lives. We know each other so well,” Austin said. “The chemistry on this team is so good. I knew we were going to good, but I didn’t expect to start the season off undefeated.”
A great example of the chemistry was Tuesday’s overtime win at East Grand Rapids. The Yellow Jackets were down three points with under a minute remaining. Their senior leadership and knowledge of each other helped a late rally and overtime win to stay perfect.
Being a leader and doing what it takes has been the focus for Austin this season.
“This year I wanted to prove myself. I wanted to be a leader and do everything I could to help my team win,” Austin said. “Whether that is scoring, rebounding, passing or playing defense.”
Austin also has been dazzling the crowd with out of nowhere blocked shots and thunderous one-handed slam dunks this season.
At 6-0 tall, Leah has helped her team to an 8-5 overall record. Just a sophomore, she hasn’t let a barrage of double- and even triple-teams stop her from averaging team highs with 13.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.
This is her second season of varsity basketball.
“We are doing a lot better than last year,” Leah said. “I’ve improved on my ball handling and have been trying to shoot outside this year.”
With the encouragement of new girls coach Eric Nichols, Leah is not only focusing on the post, but becoming a threat outside as well.
“Coach is having me play the four and shoot outside more,” Leah said. “I like being able to do that. I’ve even shot some three-pointers, but they haven’t fallen.”
With the constant attention inside comes a lot of contact. A big part of Leah’s game is knocking down crucial free throws. That is something she continues to improve at as well.
“Team’s are starting to double and triple team me,” Leah said. “Shooting outside more should be able to help with that and get those players off me.”
“It’s one of those growing years and we are just trying to expand her game,” Nichols said. “Expand it out to the arc and I think that will evolve.
“She comes in and works hard, has a great attitude and is very coachable,” he added.
The Greenville girls team is coming off a loss to state ranked East Grand Rapids, but defeated a very good Northview team just before that.
“We are improving every game and we are confident on the court,” Leah said.
With success comes notice from college recruiters for both Austin and Leah. A flood of recruiters are at each boys game to talk to not only Austin, but Chris Mickey and Torrey Davis and others.
“You would think I would feel pressure, but I love it,” Austin said. “I don’t feel pressure at all. I just have to prove I can play. It’s exciting and I’m going to do what I can to show people I can play college ball.”
While the recruiters aren’t lining up after Leah’s games they have taken notice. The mail each day is proof of the that.
“It is very motivating,” Leah said. “I’m not feeling any pressure from the letters. I’m just focusing on now.”
And now is a good time to be a fan of Yellow Jackets basketball.