GREENVILLE – The Greenville community got to see on Friday night why Coach Kyle Joseph expects the Green Wave to be an exciting team this season.
The Wave put up 75 points in their season opener against Northmont, falling 86-75 despite a strong comeback push in the second half.
“A strength of ours is going to be how hard we play,” Joseph said. “And I’ve been trying to tell people around the community that I believe they’re going to enjoy watching us play. I told them we’ll make mistakes, which we made plenty of, but we’ll keep playing hard, and we did that all night long tonight. I couldn’t be any happier.”
Greenville lost seven seniors to graduation, a group that contributed more than 90 percent of the Wave’s scoring last season, leaving the Green Wave with an inexperienced roster entering this season. The lack of experience will lead to some growing pains, but on Friday Greenville showed why Joseph is optimistic.
“I told them yesterday in practice, I said I’ll tell you what, we’ll probably turn the ball over a decent amount,” the Greenville boys basketball coach said. “Just do it going full speed, doing what we want to do and then move onto the next play and try to get it back. And when it comes back to you, don’t be shy. I think we played that way for the most part.”
Greenville got off to a strong start with Kyle Mills draining a pair of 3-pointers and knocking down a free throw to put the Wave up 7-5. Noah Walker added 8 points in the first quarter as Greenville finished the period within 4 points of Northmont, 23-19.
The second quarter proved to be the roughest of the night for Greenville as Northmont switched to a half-court trap on defense. The increased pressure propelled the Thunderbolts on a 13-0 run in the period, turning a 30-24 lead into a 43-24 advantage.
“You come into this game one after really slightly less than a month of practice and as a coach you know that you’re not ready as far as being ready to attack anything that could come at you,” Joseph said. “You’re ready to go energy-wise – I mean you saw that. We were ready to come out and play hard and do some things. But facing that is going to make us stronger as the season goes on, and even as the game went on, I wouldn’t say we did a great job in the third quarter, but we did a better job of adjusting to that and eventually we got them to call that off at least. It’s all learning experience.”
Greenville trailed 50-30 at halftime but began battling its way back into the game in the third quarter. A balanced scoring attack allowed the Wave to outscore the Bolts 27-20 in the frame and reduced their deficit to 70-57.
Greenville’s comeback push continued in the fourth quarter with the Wave getting within 6 points at 73-67 midway through the period.
“There’s not going to be any quit in us,” Joseph said.
However, that’s as close as Greenville would get as Northmont held on for an 11-point win.
Walker led Greenville with a game-high 18 points in Friday’s season opener. Also for the Green Wave, Mills scored 17 points, Tyler Beyke scored 13, Noah Vanhorn scored 12, Marcus Wood scored 10, Grant Minnich scored 3, and Will Coomer scored 2.
Jabari Perkins led Northmont with 17 points on Friday. Also for the Thunderbolts, Ryan Foy scored 16 points, Donavin Wallace scored 14, Dawson Walker scored 14, Danny Lewis scored 8, Kameron Mathis scored 8, Cameron Rucker scored 3, Corey Gay scored 2, Jamaal Linson scored 2, and Di’Talian Rayford scored 2.
Greenville fell to 0-1 with Friday’s loss while Northmont improved to 1-0. The Wave will return to action on Saturday against Fort Recovery, who is led by former Green Wave coach Michael Bashore.