GRAND RAPIDS – Greenville’s girls basketball team had its season come to an end at the hands of a rival Friday night.
The Yellow Jackets were upended by O-K Bronze Conference rival Grand Rapids Northview in the Class A district final 39-25 at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern High School.
“We did not execute well and that all falls on me,” Greenville coach Eric Nichols said. “Game plan-wise, we knew what they were going to do with the box-and-one, which is a diamond look, and we knew they were going to play triangle-and-two, but we didn’t execute, we didn’t take care of the ball and we didn’t get to the free throw line, which is one of our big objectives every game.”
The Yellow Jackets (18-5) also couldn’t keep Wildcats senior MAckenzie Crawford in check. Crawford scored 10 of Northview’s 12 points in the first quarter, as both teams ended the frame tied at 12 in what Nichols called a “feeling-out process.”
“You’re sitting there trading baskets,” he said.
But the Jackets went cold the rest of the way, making only four field goals.
“I thought the last two minutes of the first half was the ball game,” Nichols said. “We turned it over, which led to easy baskets for them, and they had their spurt at the end of the second quarter. We could not come back with our own spurt.”
One of the things Northview (12-10) did was slow the pace of the game down. Nichols said that didn’t have much to do with getting outscored 27-13 in those last three quarters.
“We came out and played man(-to-man),” Nichols said. “They are a good team, they handled the ball, they did what they wanted to do. Give them credit.”
Crawford was the star of the game. Playing in only her sixth game since returning from injury, she led Northview with 15 points. Including both of the Wildcats’ playoff games, Northview is 6-0 since her return.
“They had their best player back,” Nichols said of Crawford and the Wildcats. “She is a very good player; she was an all-conference player last year in the O-K White (Conference).
“We knew how good she was and she makes the difference for them,” he added. “They’re just a different team than they were in the last half of the season because of her injury.”
Katelyn Reynolds added 11 points for Northview.
The Yellow Jackets’ Kae Page had a team-high eight points, while Megan O’Brien finished with seven.
“Offensively, we struggled,” Nichols said. “We haven’t done that very often all year and (tonight) we did.”
Nichols was still proud of his team.
“We’ve had a great season. We had back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 10 years. It’s the first league title in 22 years,” he said. “These seniors need to be proud of what they’ve done, leaving their own legacy.
“It’s been a fun group to work with but we’ll come back and work hard and do it again next year,” he added.
It’s that offseason work that Nichols noted Greenville will have to take upon themselves.
“The girls have to get in the gym and they have to work on skills, work on shooting and get out and play,” he said.
Northview 12 11 7 9 — 39
Greenville 12 4 3 6 — 25
NORTHVIEW (12-10) – Reynolds 4 2-2 11, Gilbert 1 0-1 2, Crawford 6 1-1 15, Tisdale 1 0-0 2, VanZauten 2 0-0 4, Lowell 2 1-2 5. Totals: 16 4-6 39. Three-point goals: REynolds, Crawford 2. Total fouls: 11. Fouled out: none.
GREENVILLE (18-5) — Baker 1 0-0 2, O’Brien 3 0-0 7, O’Herron 0 1-2 1, Bernth 2 0-0 4, Page 3 0-0 8, Somerfield 0 3-4 3. Totals: 9 4-6 25. Three-point goals: O’Brien, Page 2. Total fouls: 15. Fouled out: none.