Boys varsity basketball preview: Greenville Yellow Jackets


The boys varsity basketball team enters its first home OK White conference game against the Greenville Yellow Jackets on the heels of a heartbreaking loss. The Northview Wildcats hit a game-winning shot with eight seconds left in the game to beat the Rangers 57-56. The Yellow Jackets have struggled out of the gates and come into this one with a 2-5 record.

The Yellow Jackets’ two wins were both blowouts over Belding and Central Montcalm. Three of their losses were to very good teams in Reeths-Puffer, Zeeland East, and Forest Hills Northern. The Yellow Jackets are a much-improved team from last season, when they struggled mightily as a very young team in the deep OK White.

Greenville is led by a dynamic backcourt of junior Zane Bigelow and sophomore Grant Thwaites. The frontcourt is anchored by seniors Gavin Cossou and Cameron Tucker. Senior Cameron Heppe gives the Yellow Jackets another viable scoring option. Greenville will look to Grant Thwaites to make plays off the dribble, both coming off of screens and getting into the lane on his own. Gavin Cossou is a very crafty and powerful player in the low post, and he will be a stiff test for the Rangers’ frontcourt anchored by senior Dan Deindorfer.

Dan, as well as senior Jake Ball, will have a big test with the Yellow Jacket front line. Dan is coming off of a great game in which he scored a career-high 22 points. Jake, on the contrary, did not score against Northview.  The return to the lineup of senior forward Tate Hallock will provide much-needed rebounding for the Rangers. Tate had been averaging nearly 8 rebounds a game prior to his injury, and the Rangers certainly missed that in his absence.

Last season when they played Greenville, junior guards Mitch Wilkinson and Jimmy Scholler both dominated against the Yellow Jacket backcourt. It will be a stronger test this season, as Grant Thwaites and Zane Bigelow both have a year of varsity experience under their belts. After being red-hot on offense for two straight games, Mitch struggled in the loss to Northview from the three-point line. The Rangers as a team only made three of their three-point attempts against the Wildcats. If Mitch and Jimmy, as well as seniors Jay Shields and Josh Wise, are able to knock down outside shots, the Rangers will have an excellent chance to win their first conference game of the season.