First-Half Blitz Carries Trojan Girls to Seventh Straight Win
Above: East Lansing freshman Soraya Timms (22) scored 10 points Tuesday night as the Trojans cruised to a 77-34 victory over Okemos to improve their overall record to 7-0.
Sophomore guard Bre’Naya Lane made her starting debut a memorable one Tuesday night as the East Lansing girls basketball team improved its record to 7-0 in a commanding 77-34 victory over Okemos on the Trojans’ home floor.
After forcing the Chieftains into a half-dozen turnovers early in the first quarter, East Lansing raced to a 7-0 lead in the first 90 seconds of play and never looked back.
Lane scored 13 of her 15 points in the first half to complement the work of junior guard Sanaya Gregory, who scored all 18 of her points in the first 16 minutes. The Trojans led 51-15 at halftime and were simply cruising on autopilot.
“Bre’Naya has had some very good practices and has been competing well,” said East Lansing head coach Rob Smith. “She had a tremendous offensive game in a scrimmage over the weekend, and for us it’s all about next girl up."
“The girls know we have five or six kids vying for two or three starting spots, and she (Bre’Naya) took the initiative after the (holiday) break, put in the work and really shone in the first half.”
Lane also contributed six rebounds and three assists while converting seven of her 10 field goal attempts.
Junior forward Aaliyah Nye and freshman guard Soraya Timms each scored 10 points for the Trojans, who travel to Grand Ledge for a key CAAC Blue matchup Friday.
“Defensively we had some breakdowns in the second half, which wasn’t good,” Smith added. “We’re still a long way away in terms of our offensive continuity, and defensively we’re not intimidating enough. Teams are getting things too easy against us right now.”
Unbeaten Okemos makes life miserable for Trojan boys
Too much Evan Thomas and too much backcourt pressure. A combination of both from the Okemos boys led to a 58-39 decision over host East Lansing, whose overall record dropped to 4-4, 1-2 in the CAAC Blue division.
East Lansing led 8-7 after the first quarter before being doubled up over the next 16 minutes of play by the unbeaten Chieftains (10-0), leaders of the CAAC Blue and ranked No. 4 in this week’s state-wide Division 1 poll.
“We were very workmanlike (tonight),” said Okemos head coach Jeff Wonch. “Very consistent on defense, which is what we like to hang our hat on: making sure it’s tough for the other team to score."
“In the first half it seemed like we were leaning too much on Evan, so it was nice to see (the scoring) get spread out a bit more in the second half.”
Thomas – a 6-foot-4 senior forward -- scored nine of his game-high 21 points in the second quarter as Okemos grabbed a 24-15 lead at halftime, and then increased its margin to 33-15 through the first five minutes of the third quarter.
Sophomore forward Andrel Anthony, who led East Lansing in scoring with 11 points, ended the Trojan drought on a basket with 2:51 left in the third quarter.
Senior guard Fabian Leone connected for a pair of treys, one each in the third and fourth quarters, and finished with eight points for the Chieftains, who host Detroit Central Catholic on Friday.
“I thought this was a good lesson for our team,” said East Lansing head coach Ray Mitchell. “We have a very young team and a lot of guys really haven’t been in the fire before. We’re learning by trial and error right now, but we’ll get better. It’s going to take some time.”
East Lansing played without sophomore starting point guard Marcus Wourman, who injured an ankle against Holt on Dec. 21 but who also was recently determined to have been suffering with a bout of mononucleosis.
Mitchell said he hopes Wourman will be back in the East Lansing line up in about two weeks.
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