Escape From Waverly: Trojan Boys Win Another Close One
East Lansing sophomore guard Brevin Jackson scored several key baskets Friday night in the Trojans’ 65-59 victory over Waverly. (Photo by Gary Caldwell)
The high-energy, combative and physical nature of Friday’s CAAC Blue boys basketball game fit rather nicely into the East Lansing game plan.
Not so much when the Trojans’ two big men — Ethan Dunn and Ethan Boyd — could not avoid foul trouble and eventually fouled out of the game, but more so when the situation called for a quick decision and timely execution, and maybe a collision or two around the basket.
Coach Ray Mitchell’s team keeps finding ways to win close games this season and Friday night at Phil Odlum Gymnasium at Waverly High was no exception. Four starters scored in double figures, led by sophomore guard Brevin Jackson (13 points), as the Trojans raised their overall record to 11-1 and their conference mark to 7-1 in a 65-59 decision over the host Warriors.
“We’re in one of the toughest conferences in the state,” Mitchell said. “On any given night you’re going to be in a dogfight. As long as we come coming out on top, I’m happy.”
In Friday evening’s first game at Waverly, the East Lansing girls maintained their perfect mark in the CAAC Blue (7-0) with a 78-23 victory that upped their overall record to 12-1. The Trojan girls had not played an away game since defeating DeWitt on December 20.
“It was nice to be in a different atmosphere,” said sophomore center Ella Miller (below), who scored 10 points. “I felt like we came out with a lot of energy.”
(Photo by Gary Caldwell)
Waverly winless in Blue, but no pushover: East Lansing trailed by a point early in the fourth quarter before Jackson stole the ball near midcourt and scored on a driving lay-in to put the Trojans ahead 53-52 with 5:30 remaining. Waverly (3-9 overall, 0-7 in the CAAC Blue) regained the lead, 54-53, with 5:14 to play when Isaiah Pizzo sank two free throws after East Lansing’s Andrel Anthony Jr. (12 points) was whistled for his fourth foul.
Marcus Wourman Jr. (14 points) converted a pair of free throws with 4:41 remaining to put East Lansing ahead 55-54 before a pair of baskets by senior forward Malakai Matthews (12 points) – the first on a fast-break pass from Anthony and the second from Wourman following a blocked shot by Boyd – gave the Trojans a 60-56 lead.
Waverly closed the gap to 61-59 with :42 to play on a pair of Ellis Trainor (16 points) free throws but Jackson sealed the Warriors’ fate with his final points of the night after teammate Mason Woods broke through the Waverly full-court press.
“[Brevin Jackson] stepped up tremendously with his three-point shooting (three for three attempts), and a big bucket at the end,” Mitchell said. “I think he grew up a little bit.”
East Lansing 65, Waverly 59
Okemos 52, Grand Ledge 43
Everett 80, Holt 68
DeWitt 52, Powers Catholic 44
Lansing Catholic 76, Charlotte 53
Eaton Rapids 60, Sexton 39
Eastern 59, Fowlerville 57
Haslett 56, Mason 44
Williamston 74, St Johns 49
DeWitt next up for Trojan girls on Senior Night: The Trojans jumped out to a 14-4 lead midway through the first quarter and led 31-6 after eight minutes as senior guard Aaliyah scored 13 of her team-high 14 points in the first quarter.
Nye is one of six senior girls who will be honored during the DeWitt game. Earlier this season she scored her 1,000th career point as a member of the East Lansing varsity.
“I expect DeWitt to come out strong and be hungry to win, but I think we’ll be even more so because it’s our Senior Night, and it’s the last home game for some of our teammates,” Miller said.
Smith believes the Trojans’ upcoming schedule, which includes nonleague away games at (Flint) Carman-Ainsworth on Feb. 10 and (Saginaw) Heritage on Feb. 25 will strengthen the team’s ability to handle adverse situations as it heads toward postseason play in March.
“All in all, I’m real pleased with the girls,” Smith said. “That ‘road warrior’ mentality that we’re going to develop in the next month, month and a half, is going to be key … so that’s what we’re going to be focusing on in terms of the mental piece.”
East Lansing 78, Waverly 23
Okemos 50, Grand Ledge 39
Holt 68, Lansing Everett 19
Lansing Catholic 51, Charlotte 40
Eaton Rapids 61, Lansing Sexton 26
Fowlerville 44, Eastern 36
Haslett 58, Mason 30
Portland 48, Ionia 24
Williamston 43, St Johns 30
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