GREENVILLE – The Greenville boys basketball team made positive strides in Friday night’s 58-45 GWOC loss to the Vandalia-Butler Aviators.
“Even with our record, if you would see how hard they work every single day, they are still battling, fighting for each other,” said Greenville coach Kyle Joseph. “Our guys who are out with injuries or aren’t playing – they are still cheering on the guys.”
The Aviators came into the night sitting alone atop the GWOC American North Division sporting a 15-2 record that includes an 85-29 shellacking of the Green Wave in game four of the season.
“It’s not even about the fact that we played them close this time after getting blown out the last time,” stated Coach Joseph. “The score difference isn’t as important as why – why there was a difference, the way we competed from the tip you can see how much better we played.”
“Defensively I thought that was a phenomenal effort,” continued Joseph. “They are an extremely talented half-court team on offense and we played extremely well.”
The much improved Green Wave played Butler even with a 5-5 score at 2:18 on the first quarter clock before the visitors would close out first period play with a 5-0 run to lead 10-5 at the end of the opening quarter.
Butler took period No. 2 by an 18-14 score sending the teams to the break with Greenville trailing 28-19.
Noah Walker led the Wave with nine first half points including two second quarter three-pointers.
The Greenville boys battled back to make it a three-point 33-30 game, outscoring the visitors 11-5 in the opening four minutes of the third.
The Wave would outscore Butler 14-13 in period No. 3 led by 11 Will Coomer points including four baskets and a perfect 3-3 at the charity stripe to trail Butler 41-33 heading to the final period of play.
“We have a number of guys who can score on any night,” Coach Joseph noted. “We did a good job of being patient on offense – being strong with the ball.”
The teams traded baskets to open fourth quarter play with the score standing at 43-35 with 6:13 showing before the Wave would send Butler to the line for eight fourth-quarter tosses including the Aviators final four points coming at the charity stripe to give the visitors a 13 point win – but a huge improvement for the Wave from the 56 point spread in the first meeting between the schools.
“It was a tight game in the fourth quarter,” noted Coach Joseph. “Our biggest weekness is defensive rebounding and that hurt us again tonight, but there was also some progress. We could see more guys boxing out it’s a process.”
Walker and Coomer led Greenville in scoring with 14 points each and Mills close behind with 13 points. The Wave made 8-10 at the line good for an excellent 80 percent showing.
BUTLER 58, GREENVILLE 45
AVIATORS – K. Justice 20, B. Johnson 10, R. Wertz 8, M. Kreil 7, S. Skapik 4, B. Norman 3, C. Justice 3, T. Montague 2, H. O’Cull 1 – TOTALS 13 11-20 7 58
GREEN WAVE – N. Walker 14, W. Coomer 14, K. Mills 13, M. Wood 2, E. Emric 2 – TOTALS 11 8-10 5 45
Butler 7 (K. Justice 4, B. Norman 1, R. Wertz 1, C. Justice 1, S. Skapik 1)
Greenville 5 (N. Walker 3, K. Mills 2)
SCORE by QUARTERS:
10-18-13-17 58 Butler
05-14-14-12 45 Greenville
PHOTO CAPTION: Will Coomer puts up a shot for Greenville in game with Vandalia-Butler. (Gaylen Blosser photo)