GRAND RAPIDS — The Greenville Yellow Jackets girls basketball team have won O-K Bronze Conference titles the past two years. The next goal is winning a district title for the first time since 1983.
On Monday, the Yellow Jackets took the first step toward a Class A district title with a 53-39 win at Forest Hills Northern. Greenville never trailed in the game.
“We really jumped out well. I thought we really played well the entire game,” Greenville coach Eric Nichols said. “We did not finish in a stretch. We got silly with the ball, which allowed them (FHN) to get back in the game. But then we finished strong again.
“That has been a characteristic of the this group all season long,” he added.
The Yellow Jackets (18-2) jumped out to a 16-8 lead after the first quarter and led 31-20 at halftime.
Northern (15-5) outscored the Yellow Jackets 11-7 in the third quarter and was able to pull within three points early in the fourth quarter.
Leah Somerfield helped to put Greenville back into a comfortable position with eight of her 13 points in the fourth quarter.
“I thought Leah (Somerfield) was really good in the fourth quarter,” Nichols said. “Paige (Hallock) really did a great job running the show. She has really grown the last month as our point-forward. She is a tough matchup for everybody.
“Kylee (Moody) in the fourth quarter came up with three or four loose balls. She does the little things that most people don’t notice,” he added.
Landon Kemp scored a game-high 18 points, while Nikota Howe added 13 points. Hallock had seven points in the win.
It was Greenville’s third win against the Huskies.
“They are a good team. They were second in the O-K Bronze and had 15 wins,” Nichols said. “We beat a good team three times and that says a lot for our kids.”
Alexis Hill led the Huskies with 15 points. Emily Kozal added 13 points.
In an odd twist, the game was play at Northern, even though Cedar Springs is the tournament host. The tournament host, typically, hosts all district games, but there were three district games scheduled on Monday.
“I was upset we had to go play there with the way this district is shaped,” Nichols said. “I really thought it was unfair. Our kids ignored it and went out and did their job.”
Greenville will play at Cedar Springs on Wednesday at 5 p.m. against the Lowell Red Arrows. Greenville defeated Lowell 49-40 during the regular season.
In other district games, Lowell topped Rockford 69-57, while Forest Hills Central knocked off Cedar Springs 52-45. Central will face Northview on Wednesday at Cedar Springs at 7 p.m.