Greenville girls hoops off to perfect 4-0 start

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 9:49 am on Friday, December 14, 2012

Greenville senior Megan O’Brien brings the ball up the court for the Yellow Jackets during their win against Belding this season.

GREENVILLE — Knowing how to finish a basketball game can be the difference in having a really good season or just an average season.

Last year, finishing games was a struggle for the Greenville Yellow Jackets girls basketball team. That’s not the case this year as the Yellow Jackets have started the season 4-0 and have taken control of games in the second half.

“I think we are finding a way to win. We have been very good in the fourth quarter,” Greenville coach Eric Nichols said. “I think the girls have made adjustments. We have gotten to the free throw line and have been fairly decent at the line.

“We struggled the other night (Tri County), but at least we are getting there,” he added.

Greenville has outscored its opponents in all four fourth quarters this season. Only twice have they failed to outscore their opponents in the third quarter.

The Yellow Jackets have outscored their opponents 72-43 in the fourth quarter this season. A 16-10 final quarter advantage helped the Yellow Jackets overcome a five-point deficit on Tuesday night at Tri County.

“It was a see-saw game and they (Tri County) led most of the second half,” Nichols said. “We did not shoot well, so we struggled. What I liked, the last three minutes of the game, we stepped up and made plays.”

Senior Megan O’Brien hit a big three-pointer, while junior Leah Somerfield helped with a couple of late baskets.

Experience has helped the Yellow Jackets as they start four seniors.

Sam O’Herron works on free throws during Greenville’s practice on Thursday.

“We are in the second year of understanding what we are trying to do with our scheme,” Nichols said. “The kids have become interchangeable parts, which is one of the things we stressed last year.”

Through four games, the Yellow Jackets are averaging a 13 points per game advantage. Defensively, Greenville has allowed just 35 points per game.

Nichols said defense, outside of the Tri County game has been good.

“I didn’t think we were as good defensively at Tri County,” Nichols said. “Part of it was us, part of it was them. They are a nice club, but we have to get back to being fundamentally sound. We have do a better job of controlling the dribbler.”

The Yellow Jackets travel to Lowell (2-2) tonight. They will play game two of a boys/girls varsity doubleheader against the nonconference Red Arrows.

“They have a big girl coming back that was very improved last year,” Nichols said. “They have two guards, sisters, and a shooter. It’s a new coaching staff down there, so we will have to make good adjustments.”

Greenville will open its conference season Dec. 21 at home against Forest Hills Northern.

Nichols said his team will be fun to watch and will compete for a conference title this season.

“If we keep sharing the ball and the attitude of being interchangeable and accept roles, we are going to be fun to watch this year,” Nichols said. “We are just making sure we come to play every night. We are writing 20 chapters this season and we’ve written four so far.”

The Greenville boys will tip-off at 6 p.m. tonight at Lowell. The girls game will follow.

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