Greenville Christian had no issues with Manchester Academy, a team that was previously undefeated in district play, as the Saints cruised to a 69-25 win Tuesday night.
It was the Mavericks' second trip to Greenville in a span of seven days. Manchester Academy's last visit ended with fireworks after the Mavs nailed a buzzer beater as time expired to end regulation. That was followed by some clutch shots in overtime to pull out a huge upset on the road, taking down perennial power and defending champion, St. Joseph. Coach Jacob Iles and his crew from Yazoo County entered the game with hopes of continuing that success, boasting a lot of confidence. But their second trip to Greenville in a week had a much different outcome.
From the opening tip, Greenville Christian imposed its will. The Saints dominated in transition, forced turnovers and converted them into fast break points on the other end of the court. Their half-court offense wasn't too shabby either. GCS got open looks and made the most of those opportunities. At other times, they relied on high percentage shots in the paint and used the hot hand of Josiah Claiborne to do damage from beyond the arc.
DJ Smith led all scorers with 24 in basically only two quarters of action as he sat most of the second half. But it wasn't just the scoring of Smith that lifted the Saints. GCS' stingy defense made it tough for Manchester Academy to get anything going early on. After allowing only five points in the opening quarter, the Saints held the Mavericks to just 3 total points in the second frame, taking a 44-8 lead into intermission.
After the break, Manchester managed to score two quick buckets that gave its struggling offense some life but Smith quickly answered with a basket to end a short-lived run. Midway through the third quarter, Greenville Christian's head basketball coach, Logan Collins, began to empty his bench as his team built a commanding double-digit lead. The Saints did not look back and cruised to a 44-point victory in front of the home crowd.
With the win, Greenville Christian improved to 8-0 and remain unblemished headed into a rematch of last Friday's matchup against cross-town rival St. Joseph. Despite the previous meeting being close at times throughout the game, the Saints came out with an 11-point win on the road, 63-52. The rematch will be played at GCS.