SPRINGVILLE — Greg Beatty was 3 years old when he first picked up a basketball. However, it was when he was 7 that he began to fall in love with the sport. Beatty admitted that, growing up, most of his buddies were playing football. But basketball was the sport that appealed to him the most. Now an 18-year-old senior at Springville-Griffith Institute, basketball has been the norm for Beatty the past 11 years.
It helps that he has a basketball court directly across from his bedroom window. Although it’s not a full-size court; it’s the place that Beatty calls “his slice of paradise.
“It’s kind of an escape for me,” Beatty said. “It’s something that I can always count on. When things around me aren’t going so great, a basketball is always there, ready for me. It’s a sacred place that soothes me and provides that happy place.”
Beatty has spent hours upon hours in his gym over the years, and in his senior season at S-GI, it’s paying off. The senior swingman is averaging nearly 13 points per game, including scoring a career-high 19 points against West Valley in the Holiday Tournament. Beatty went on to be named to the All-Tournament team.
“Greg is a very respectful young man,” said Springville head coach Frank Noeson. “He works hard, sets high standards for himself and really has become a well-rounded player on our team.”
Beatty is averaging a career high in points per game and has also been playing more minutes than he’s ever played, during his three years on the varsity team. He played all 32 minutes in Springville’s recent loss to Gowanda. His increased minutes are due to being in better shape, the player noted. Since the beginning of his junior year, Beatty has lost 47 pounds and that has paid dividends on the court, according to the athlete.
“I don’t get tired anymore,” he said, about getting in better shape. “I can play 32 minutes and want to keep going. Sometimes after we lose, I just want to play another quarter. In the past, I’m waiting for a sub to come in and now I don’t want to leave the game at all.
“I’m a completely different player now,” he continued. “I was lazy; I was slow. I’d get the ball and I’d shoot once in awhile or get an easy put back here or there. I was never really a threat. Now I’m just more aggressive, offensively and defensively.”
Noeson has also noticed the results of Beatty being in better shape.
“He’s quicker now, and his stamina is much improved,” the coach said. “He’s able to create space for himself to get shots off and is taking it to the basket more often.”
Although Beatty has been playing mostly on the perimeter, he leads the team in rebounding, averaging eight rebounds per game. The 6-foot-2 Beatty has led Springville in rebounding, in four out of the teams’ five games this season, including pulling down double-digit rebounds in games against Depew and Gowanda.
“I’ve really improved my rebounding,” he said. “I was never one to be active on the boards. I was always one to shy away. This year, I’m really trying to get my nose dirty and be more involved.”
Beatty plays the “three” position, which allows him to play on the perimeter, while also being able to play in the post. At the three, he’s able to score from the inside and the outside. Beatty has canned 11 three-pointers this season, to lead the team. He finished second on the team last season, in three-pointers made, behind the graduated Billy Dickinson. This season, he has been even more consistent from deep, and that’s even helped his teammates.
“Our two point guards Nate [Wolcott] and Adam [Wolfley] have really benefited from people playing Greg tight,” said Noeson. “We’re able to take the ball to Greg’s side of the court, where there’s some space. If Greg’s defender helps on the ball, he’s usually the recipient of a good pass, for a wide-open shot. If his defender stays, Nate and Adam are getting to the basket.”
As a senior, Beatty has matured physically but also mentally. He noted that his relationship with Noeson has improved significantly. In years past, the two have butted heads.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride,” Beatty said. “We haven’t always gotten along; we’ve butted heads a lot. This year, it changed. I’ve came down a couple levels. In the past, I acted like I knew more than he did. I’ve matured a lot. We get along during practice now and we see eye-to-eye. I couldn’t have asked for a better year so far, with him. He’s been great.”
Noeson and Beatty have a common interest in winning a lot more games, this season. Springville has been tripped up by Maryvale and Gowanda, in games that have come down to struggles in the second half. With a senior-laden squad, Beatty said he hopes to finish teams off and win a lot more games in the home-stretch of his final season.
“We’ve had a tough start. I think we’ve lost to some teams that I think we should beat,” Beatty added.
“This being my senior year, it puts a whole new meaning to winning games. This year, we want to win every game because there aren’t that many games left. The games mean so much more, this year. I really think with the team we have, we can put together one of the best seasons Springville’s had in awhile.”
Springville has endured the ill effects of the wintery weather in Western New York, causing the postponements of a number of games, so far.
Beatty and the Griffs will look get some victories in the win column when they host Lake Shore on Jan. 10 and East Aurora on Jan. 15.
Beatty is the son of Diane and Mike Beatty.