Greenville to face Catholic Central

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 9:44 am on Thursday, December 27, 2012

Greenville’s Parker Syrjala, right, moves the ball along the sideline during a game against Tri County at home. The Yellow Jackets are 3-2 overall.

GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets have already faced a couple of quality basketball teams this season.

Tonight, Greenville may see its most talented team yet, when they face Grand Rapids Catholic Central as part of the Cougars boys basketball Holiday Tournament.

Greenville’s game will follow the Warren DeLaSalle/Lowell game, which begins at 6 p.m.

Catholic Central is 3-1 this season, which includes a season opening 77-67 win over Drake Harris and Grand Rapids Christian.

“I would say talent-wise they would be the most talented team,” Greenville coach Mark Haist said. “I’m not going to say they are going to be the best team we’ve played, because I think Forest Hills Northern was an outstanding team, with chemistry, knowing roles and knowing the system.

“Catholic Central has great basketball players, but I don’t know if they can play together like Northern and play their system that way,” he added.

The Yellow Jackets (3-2) lost to Northern 63-52 in their last game on Dec. 21.

Catholic Central has also beaten Holland Christian and Grand Haven, but lost to Zeeland West.

“They are a very athletic and a very good team,” Haist said. “They were able to beat a pretty good Grand Rapids Christian team earlier in the year. They have some pretty good athletes to go with some good shooters. They have a little bit of everything.”

Greenville will have to deal with the Cougars scoring tandem of DeMarkus Stuckey and Jon Marosi. Stuckey — a transfer from GR Union — is averaging 19 points and Marosi 16 points per game.

Stuckey dropped 33 points against Grand Rapids Christian to start the year.

Haist said his team can beat anyone, it’s just about having the confidence to do so.

“I think we can beat anybody, but we have to develop that confidence,” Haist said. “We need that early start so we can show ourselves we can do this. I think that would be important for us.”

Greenville has its own scoring tandem in Greg Krusniak and Alex Karatkiewicz. Krusniak is averaging 15.2 points and Karatkiewicz 15 points per game this year.

The Yellow Jackets have worked on their defensive game over the last week since the loss to Northern.

“We worked on defensive rotations on Saturday, trying to keep guys out of the paint,” Haist said. “We went back to working on fundamentals. That is essentially what we did with a lot of the defensive stuff.”

Greenville is used to playing over the holiday break. The past couple of years the played at the Cornerstone Holiday Tournament.

“I like the break games. I think I’ve done this since my first year,” Haist said. “Without the games, it ends up being about 20 days without a game. That gets to be too much. They are nonconference games and it gives you a chance to work on some things and face some tough competition.”

The Yellow Jackets will play again Friday. The winner of the two games tonight will play each other at 7:30 p.m. The losers of the two games tonight will face each other at 6 p.m.

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