Greenville boys hoops looking for new identity

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 10:12 am on Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Greenville senior Miguel Nieto defends a player during a game last season. The Yellow Jackets went 19-2 last year. They open the season Dec. 4, at Muskegon Reeths Puffer.

GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets boys basketball team is coming off one of its most memorable seasons in school history.

The Yellow Jackets finished 19-1 in the regular season a year ago and were crowned O-K White champions with a 9-1 league record.

Unfortunately, Greenville finished the year 19-2, meaning they lost in the first round of the state playoffs. Both season losses came to league rival Northview.

This year, the Yellow Jackets look to regroup with a mostly new starting five and unfamiliarity in the new O-K Bronze.

“We need to develop a new identity because of key losses,” Greenville coach Mark Haist said. “With that, will come confidence and competitiveness.”

Gone from a year ago include four starters in Torrey Davis, Aaron Crebessa, Chris Mickey and Austin Somerfield. All four have moved on to play basketball at the next level.

The lone returning starter is center Greg Krusniak.

“Greg is a three-year varsity player,” Haist said. “He is a skilled post player with experience.”

Other returning players include Curtis Heppe (guard), Alex Karatkiewicz (forward) and Miguel Nieto (guard). All three are seniors.

“Curtis will be the floor general,” Haist said. “Alex will attack the basket and help rebound, while Miguel is a shooter and defensive stopper.”

Greenville’s strength a year ago was its chemistry. This year, they will have to build their chemistry and play as a team.

“We need to continue to work hard each day in practice and compete with teams, as a team, for the team,” Haist said.

New to the O-K Bronze are Cedar Springs, Forest Hills Eastern, Forest Hills Northern and Grand Rapids West Catholic. The goal is to win a second consecutive conference title. Northview moved with Greenville to the O-K Bronze.

“The league should be wide open,” Haist said. “Eastern and Northern have the most returning experience, but it should be a very competitive league.”

The Yellow Jackets open the season with two straight road games at Muskegon Reeths Puffer (Dec. 4) and Belding (Dec. 7).

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