GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets’ win on Tuesday night was unlike any of its previous four this season.
The Yellow Jackets won their first four games of the season in convincing fashion by an average of 25 points, while averaging 87 points per game. A two-game losing streak followed in which the Yellow Jackets were dominated in the same fashion.
On Tuesday night, Greenville (5-2, 1-1) trailed most of the game. It was a slower paced and lower scoring game as opposed to earlier season games. But, the Yellow Jackets battled all night. They overcame a slow start and poured it on in the fourth quarter in a 56-46 O-K Bronze win over Grand Rapids West Catholci.
“I’m extremely happy with our kids being able to adjust. The game was physical and it got to us tonight,” Greenville coach Mark Haist said. “Tonight, we adjusted to the physicality of the game. Outside of the first five minutes, I thought we played pretty well.”
The slow start was aided by multiple turnovers. Greenville had 11 turnovers in the first five minutes of the game as they trailed 6-0 to start and ended the first quarter trailing 6-3.
“We took care of the ball a whole lot better after that,” Haist said. “I thought our guys did a great job rising to the occasion. It’s not the system or the style we’ve been practicing, but we’re adjusting to that.”
Greenville and West Catholic (3-4, 0-1) each scored 14 points in the second quarter as the Falcons led 20-17 at halftime.
The Yellow Jackets found their groove in the second half. Six Yellow Jackets scored in the third quarter as Greenville chipped away two points to trial 30-29 after three quarters.
The fourth quarter was about aggressive play for Greenville.
The Yellow Jackets scored 15 of their 27 fourth quarter points from the free throw line. Senior Parker Syrjala knocked down 10-of-12 in the deciding quarter.
“Parker is a leader for us. The kids look to him for that guidance, leadership and toughness,” Haist said. “He’s the one kid that isn’t going to shy away from the tough play. It was critical for him to make those tough plays.”
Late in the game, the Yellow Jackets executed two important inbound plays for an easy basket and a pair of free throws to help extend their lead.
“Those were plays we had not practiced,” Haist said. “That was great those kids were able to see it on a board and execute it in a game. Those were tough situations to put the kids in.”
The Yellow Jackets did enough defensively and outscored the Falcons 27-16 in the fourth quarter for the win.
West Catholic’s Travis Russell led all scorers with 23 points.
Syrjala led Greenville with 15 points. Ian Cooper added 11 points, Troy Bedenbaugh had nine points and Stephen Roy eight points.
Greenville will host Forest Hills Northern on Friday in another league contest.
GREENVILLE 56, WEST CATHOLIC 46
West Catholic 6 14 10 16 — 46
Greenville 3 14 12 27 — 56
WEST CATHOLIC (3-4, 0-1) — Theile 2 1-1 5, McDonough 1 1-2 3, Wildman 1 0-0 3, Russell 8 5-8 23, Riddering 0 1-3 1, Rogalski 1 0-0 2, Ball 1 1-2 3, Witham 3 0-0 6. Totals: 20 9-15 46. Three-point goals: Wildman, Russell. Total fouls: 21. Fouled out: Wildman. Technical fouls: Wildman.
GREENVILLE (5-2, 1-1) — O’Connor 1 0-0 2, Syrjala 0 15-18 15, Roy 3 2-2 8, Bedenbaugh 2 4-4 9, Cooper 5 1-2 11, Niewoonder 2 3-4 7, Reamer 2 0-01 4. Totals: 15 25-31 56. Three-point goals: Bedenbaugh. Total fouls: 17. Fouled out: None.