Five Big Things: Greer at Byrnes
In an early season marquee matchup of undefeated non-region teams, the Greer Yellow Jackets and Byrnes Rebels met Tuesday night and the game delivered the goods. Greer came out aggressively on the defensive end, forcing the Rebels into turnovers and traveling violations all night. Here are my biggest takeaways from the game.
1-Greer came into this game at 6-0 after sweeping an early season tournament in Union, as well as winning by double-digits at home against Berea and Blue Ridge. But this was the biggest road test of the slate so far, going to play a Byrnes team that was also undefeated and playing solid ball early on. The Yellow Jackets played great defense throughout the contest, attacking loose balls and just generally creating havoc. Greer also got some gifts from the Rebels shooting themselves in the foot too. It was too late for me to start counting once I picked up on the trend, but Byrnes had at least six travel calls against them in this game. The Yellow Jackets are on you like white on rice defensively, then are willing and eager to get off and running in transition.
2-Mikey Williams led the Jackets in scoring, collecting 19 points before fouling out with just under three minutes to play. Williams, much like nearly all of his teammates, are FAST. They are fast, athletic, and very skilled at the rim where they seemed to want to run their offense through, but also stepped out and hit a handful of threes. Greer got to the bucket and either had easy looks or got fouled and made a great percentage of its free throws. Isaiah Henry was the one sent to the line when the score got within three points late, hitting six straight from the strip to ice the game. Amare Anderson flashed skill in the midrange with 12 points, and Bradyn Durrah locked down the paint as another skilled big with 9 points himself.
3-When the Rebels have their best day, I believe they have the personnel to be one of the best teams in the county. This was far from Byrnes’ best day. The turnovers continued to mount and it seemed like the team was never able to recover from the early hole they were in, down 16-4 after the first quarter. Additionally, the lid was sealed shut on the basket and Byrnes couldn’t truly rip it off until it was too late. Especially from the three-point line and the free throw line, the Rebels had an off-night shooting and a team like Greer that is going to grab a miss or turnover and quickly score on the opposite end can be demoralizing. By the time Byrnes was starting to hit a couple big threes from Conner Page late in the fourth quarter, the Yellow Jackets bled a ton of time off the clock and hit free throws to end the comeback bid.
4-Will Fowler had a game-high mark of 20 points in the loss, focusing on the short-range and mid-range shooting game and getting to the line. Page took a little time to find his groove, but when he did he was able to put Greer’s defense in some tough spots. When Byrnes was struggling to shoot I would’ve liked to see them try and get the ball in the paint to big man Evan Enos who was in a battle all night with Durrah on the interior.
5-These two teams will meet again in a couple weeks, and I’d be surprised if this same Byrnes team showed up that night. I truly believe that this Rebels squad is much better than it showed last night. The turnovers were a serious issue, but I can’t imagine the shooting numbers will be as bad as they were on a consistent basis. Byrnes (as well as everyone else) still has plenty of time to sort out its issues ahead of conference play beginning in January. On the other hand, Greer absolutely looks the part as a team that can contend for its region and possibly more. Riverside also sits undefeated in non-region play going into this week of games, and Eastside is 5-1 in Region 2-4A. Time will tell how those two units will match up on the floor, but Greer going to Duncan and securing this win in a hostile environment should go a long way in the confidence department for the Yellow Jackets.