By Drew Terhall
GREENVILLE — The Green Wave basketball team kept it close against Butler High School, but couldn’t get the home opener win on Dec. 6. They lost 41-50 to the Aviators.
Head Coach Matt Hamilton said he was proud of his team for never giving up during the game. He wants to instill that mentality into the program.
“Teams in the past may have given up when we got down 14 or 15 points. We kept fighting,” Hamilton said. “We just got to continue to learn and gain that experience.”
Butler only led 11-9 after the first quarter. Greenville scored all their first quarter points on three-point shots. The Green Wave played great defense to keep the game close early.
But, Butler started to separate themselves late in the second quarter. A late surge by the Aviators gave them a 22-14 lead heading into halftime. Both offenses held long possessions that drained the clock. By the time Butler went on their run, Greenville didn’t have time to respond in the first half.
The third quarter featured quicker offenses. Both teams got into their half-court sets earlier and executed faster. More players started to find their rhythm on offense.
Butler kept their lead as they went into the fourth quarter leading 38-29. The Aviators kept getting second chances on the offense. That helped Butler keep their lead.
Greenville did all they could to keep themselves within striking distance. But whenever they had a chance to inch closer, Butler would get the turnover or basket they needed to keep Greenville at bay.
Hamilton said his team just needs more experience to start turning these nine point games into closer losses, or ideally close wins.
“(Need experience) to know what it takes to make a defensive stand when we need it and to calm down and get a good offensive possession when we need a bucket. We’re not quite there yet,” Hamilton said.
Senior Haiden Livingston led the team with 13 points. He scored all of his points in the second half. Senior Jarrod Demange and sophomore Drew Hamilton both scored eight points, tied for second best on the team.
For Butler, senior Tristen Vandervort led his team with 13 points. Junior AJ Holderman was the only other player to score double-digit points with 10.
Greenville will travel to Stebbins on Dec. 9 for another conference matchup. It will be another opportunity for the Green Wave to show their grit.
“What we want everybody start to know is they better come and play when they play Greenville. We’re going to be ready every night,” Hamilton said.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]