GR Christian just another game for Greenville


Bruce Bentley

The Greenville Yellow Jackets boys basketball team has taken the “one game at a time” approach all season long. For Greenville, tonight’s O-K White Conference game at Grand Rapids Christian is just one of 20 games on the 2011-2012 schedule.

For Greenville fans and family it is probably the biggest regular season game in a long time. Without having the playoff significance — lose and go home — this is a game between two of the best teams in the conference and area.

“At this time of the year it probably is,” Greenville coach Mark Haist said. “I was thinking about it, but we still talk about one game at a time.”

Basically, what Haist is saying is this game will not make or break the Yellow Jackets’ season.

“Win or lose, it’s still just the third conference game of the year,” Haist said. “If we get a victory we can’t think we’ve wrapped up the conference title. If we don’t win we can’t hang our heads and look back. It’s one game at a time.”

Haist is right. But for us fans and media we can salivate at a matchup like this.

Greenville is 8-0 overall and 2-0 in the league. Christian is 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the league. The Eagles’ losses were in quadruple overtime to Rockford and at Cornerstone University to Hudsonville.

Both teams are high scoring (67.7 pts/gm for Greenville and 71 pts/gm for GRC), they don’t give up a lot of points and have multiple players that contribute, although the Eagles have the advantage in depth.

“They are very athletic and have the Harris (Drake) kid that everyone has heard about,” Haist said. “But they have several other good athletic players. The other thing is they are deep. They will play about 12 kids throughout the game.”

In case you haven’t heard, Harris is a legitimate Division 1 recruit. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has made frequent appearances at Harris’ football and basketball games and Michigan coach John Beilein was in the crowd at Cornerstone.

Harris averages 17.5 points per game. The Yellow Jackets have three players averaging more than 12 points — Austin Somerfield, Chris Mickey and Torrey Davis — per game.

The Yellow Jackets are coming off a 74-35 dismantling of Muskegon Mona Shores on Tuesday. This team is focused and confident. They have bought in to the one game at a time mentality and have not looked ahead yet.

Tonight’s game will be a test. I think a win will be more important, mentally, to this team than a loss.
A win on the road will be incredible. A win over Christian will establish the Yellow Jackets as a legitimate postseason contender.

A loss … and it’s just another game. The Eagles still have to make a trip to Greenville.

Greenville has been fun to watch this year. I suspect tonight will be the same. If you have the opportunity to make the trip I suggest you do, but arrive early since the arena will be packed.

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