Greenville fends off Redskins for win

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 9:42 am on Monday, December 16, 2013

Greenville’s Ethan Morris drives past Belding’s Sam Beckett during Friday’s game. The Yellow Jackets won 88-83 to improve to 2-0. – Jamie McNinch

GREENVILLE — Points in high school basketball are sometimes hard to come by.

Unless, that is, you’re the Greenville Yellow Jackets and Belding Redskins. The two rivals played one of its more memorable games in recent history on Friday night.

With a frantic tempo throughout the game, it was the host Yellow Jackets outscoring the Redskins 88-83 for the victory.

Through two games, the Yellow Jackets are averaging 90.5 points per game.

“Coming in, I knew the style of offense they were trying to run and the defense they wanted to play (pressure),” Belding coach Jeff Wierzbicki said. “We went from 25 turnovers on Wednesday to 14 turnovers tonight.

“Nick Price and Tye Wittenbach played out of their minds. They played great basketball, smart basketball; they knew when to attack and they knew when to kick the ball out,” he added.

The Redskins (1-1) held the lead from the middle part of the first quarter through the early third quarter.

“I thought both teams battled. I was impressed by Belding’s work ethic and execution at that tempo,” Greenville coach Mark Haist said. “But also, their endurance. They kept at it a long time. We were thinking we could wear them down and they kept battling.”

Belding led by as many as 10 in the second quarter and was up 46-42 at halftime. Greenville scored the first six points of the second half to take a 48-46 advantage. From there it was back-and-forth the remainder of the game.

Belding’s Nick Price drives to the basket during Friday’s game at Greenville. – Jamie McNinch

“I was impressed by how our kids never gave up,” Haist said. “It’s a new system, we were down eight or 10 and they could have said this isn’t working. They just grinded through foul trouble and everything else.”

Belding junior Bryce Wilker gave the Redskins a 79-75 lead with 3:16 remaining in the game, but foul trouble allowed the Yellow Jackets to battle back in the final minutes.

The Yellow Jackets (2-0) hit 11-of-15 free throws down the stretch.

“We caught some foul trouble down the stretch, but they did hit their free throws down the stretch,” Wierzbicki said. “It came down to that. They did a better job of keeping us out of the lane down the stretch. Our guys felt some pressure. Overall, I was very happy with all the decisions they guys made.”

Ryan Davis sealed the game for the Yellow Jackets with two free throws with just 8.1 seconds left for an 87-83 lead. It was the free throw prior to those two that was the biggest play of the night.

Leading 85-83, no other Yellow Jackets in the paint, Davis missed his second free throw, but split through the Belding defenders for an offensive rebound. He was quickly fouled again.

“I’m glad he knew he missed, because he had a chance to go get it,” Haist said. “It was a heads up play. I think he wanted to make up for the first half (foul trouble).”

Parker Syrjala led four Yellow Jackets in double figures with 19 points. Ian Cooper added 15, Ethan Morris 13 and Mitch Niewoonder 10 points.

Wittenbach and Garrett Strotheide each scored 23 points to lead the Redskins. Kole Hart and Price added 12 points apiece.

“I don’t know if I wanted the pace to be this fast, but our guys stepped up,” Wierzbicki said. “We played with them and we had a shot at the end. It just didn’t happen.”

The Yellow Jackets scored 93 points on Tuesday against Muskegon Reeths-Puffer and allowed just 59. The 83 points scored by Belding was a little more than the Yellow Jackets would like to allow.

“Our goal isn’t to give up a lot of points, but if we are going to give up some, we have to rotate and hold them to one shot,” Haist said. “Our goal is to get as many offensive rebounds as we can. That will be a place for us to focus.”

Greenville will travel to Tri County on Tuesday, while the Redskins will host Grant.


Belding 15 27 21 22 — 83

Greenville 15 27 21 25 — 88

BELDING (1-1) — Daller 1 1-2 3, Wittenbach 8 7-9 23, Strotheide 8 4-7 23, Hart 5 0-1 12, Price 4 2-4 12, Curtis 1 0-0 2, Clementz 1 2-2 4, Wilker 2 0-0 4. Totals: 30 16-25 83. Three-point goals: Strotheide 3, Hart 2, Price 2. Total fouls: 26. Fouled out: Hart, Wilker.

GREENVILLE (2-0) — Morris 5 2-6 13, Packer 1 2-2 5, Davis 1 3-4 6, O’Conner 3 0-0 8, Syrjala 5 8-11 19, Roy 3 4-6 7, Cooper 6 2-2 15, Niewoonder 4 1-3 10, Reamer 2 1-2 5. Totals: 28 23-26 88. Three-point goals: O’Conner 2, Morris, Packer, Davis, Syrjala, Roy, Cooper, Niewoonder. Total fouls: 19. Fouled out: None.










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