GREENVILLE — The Tri County Vikings played even with the Greenville Yellow Jackets for the first quarter.
After that, Greenville’s size, ability to rebound and its transition game took over in a 62-47 victory on Tuesday night at North Gym.
Greg Krusniak scored the first 10 points for the Yellow Jackets, all within a couple of feet of the basket for a 10-5 advantage. Nine first quarter points by Tri County’s Mitchell Goerner helped the Vikings to a 14-14 tie late in the first quarter.
“It started out all right being 14-14 toward the end of the first,” Vikings coach Chad Gould said. “We saw what we expected from them and their big fellas. I thought our defensive rotations were a little lapse and they got into the paint and got some points.”
Krusniak got into early foul trouble, but the Greenville transition game helped to open up a sizable advantage.
“We were in a decent position, had him (Krusniak) in foul trouble, but they went on a run,” Gould said. “We panicked a little bit. That’s something I’ve seen since the season started when we face a little adversity. We shift into another gear instead of just letting the game come to us.”
The Yellow Jackets scored the final four points of the first quarter and the first nine points of the second quarter for a 27-14 lead.
“I thought our zone definitely slowed them down,” Greenville coach Mark Haist said. “They got out early and pushed Goerner along the wing. We weren’t getting back, but once we made that adjustment that slowed them down.
“Once we work it inside or penetrate and find our big guys, that’s when we are at our best,” he added.
Alex Karatkiewicz scored 11 points for Greenville, mostly in transition.
“When they (Tri County) are trying to extend their defense we want to attack with pressure of our own,” Haist said. “We can’t go sideline-to-sideline with that. We have to go end-to-end. We thought we did a nice job with that most of the time.”
Greenville eventually opened a 35-18 lead, before Tri County scored the half’s final five points to trail 35-23 at halftime.
Tri County wasn’t helped when they lost their starting point guard Brandon Peterman to two dislocated knuckles on his shooting hand.
“It doesn’t help losing your starting point guard,” Gould said. “I thought the guys that filled in played hard, everybody played hard and I can’t complain.”
The Yellow Jackets defense held the Vikings to just four points in the third quarter while extending their lead to 49-27. It was a little sloppy in the second half for both teams with turnovers.
“Through three quarters I thought the intensity was where we wanted it to be,” Haist said. “The fourth quarter it was tough to keep up the intensity when the outcome was kind of known. Our zone was the difference.”
In all, 10 Yellow Jackets scored points as every player on both teams saw the court in the fourth quarter.
Krusniak finished with a team-high 15 points. Ian Cooper scored in double figures off the bench with 12 points.
Goerner led the Vikings with a game-high 21 points.
“He does a nice job. He has accepted the fact that he needs to trust his team more than he has in the past,” Gould said of Goerner. “Over the summer at camp, he realized he can’t do everything himself, but he still has to carry us at times and he does.”
Ryne Dailey scored 11 fourth quarter points, including three three-pointers.
Tri County is at Fruitport and Greenville at Lowell on Friday.
Haist said it is a big game for Greenville to help gauge where they are as a team.
“It’s and old rival from the O-K White,” Haist said. “They execute extremely well and hopefully we can be disciplined ourselves.”
GREENVILLE 62, TRI COUNTY 47
Tri County 14 9 4 19 — 47
Greenville 18 17 14 13 — 62
TRI COUNTY (2-1) — Ruppert 0 2-2 2, R. Dailey 4 0-0 11, C. Dailey 0 0-2 0, Heckman 1 0-0 2, Goerner 7 4-5 21, VandeVrede 1 0-0 3, Day 0 3-3 3, Matulis 1 0-3 2, Peterman 1 0-0 3. Totals: 15 9-15 47. Three-point goals: R. Dailey 3, Goerner 2, VandeVrede, Peterman. Total fouls: 16. Fouled out: None.
GREENVILLE (2-1) — Davis 1 1-2 3, Heppe 2 0-0 4, Karatkiewicz 5 1-1 11, Nelson 0 1-2 1, Syrjala 2 0-0 5, Roy 1 2-3 4, Nieto 2 1-2 5, Cooper 6 0-0 12, Krusniak 6 3-5 15, Reamer 1 0-0 2. Totals: 26 8-14 62. Three-point goals: Syrjala. Total fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.