Nye, Lebeda Lead the Way as Trojan Girls Cruise to 15th Victory
Above: Sophomore forward Annelise Lebeda scored a career-high 19 points Friday as the East Lansing girls improved to 15-0 with an 82-39 victory over Okemos. (Photo by James Pivarnik)
Imagine the luxury a basketball coach must have when he can rest his top scorer for the entire second half and at the same time watch a sophomore non-starter come off the bench to play the best game of her career.
Welcome to Rob Smith’s world.
On a night when the East Lansing High School girls basketball team improved its overall record to 15-0, including a league-leading 9-0 in the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue Division, junior Aaliyah Nye and sophomore Annelise Lebeda combined for 44 points Friday in an 82-39 victory over Okemos.
Nye continued her torrid shooting by scoring 25 points in 14 minutes of first-half play.
Lebeda, meanwhile, made seven of her 10 field goal attempts, including three of five from three-point range, to finish with a career-high 19 points.
“Really pleased with the offensive effort overall,” Smith said. “Aaliyah was instant offense in the first half, Annalise had a super second half, and (freshman center) Ella Miller with eight points, eight rebounds and five steals – pretty much sums it up.
“Defensively, I think we’ll look to shore things up before the Grand Ledge game (Tuesday). But holding Okemos to 14 points in the first half was a good effort on our part.”
East Lansing jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the first two minutes of play before Okemos had attempted its first field goal. The Trojans increased the margin to 29-7 after eight minutes, and then built a 50-14 cushion by halftime.
Freshman Corinne Jones contributed eight points while junior Sanaya Gregory and sophomore Bre’Naya Lane scored seven each.
The Trojans are home for two games this week – Tuesday against Grand Ledge and Friday against Battle Creek Central.
Okemos boys hold off upset-minded Trojans
After two quarters of play, East Lansing’s deliberate approach to offense and a ramped-up defense appeared to be causing some concern for the league-leading Okemos Chieftains.
The Trojans took a 12-11 lead – yes, 12-11 – into the locker room at halftime and appeared comfortable in controlling the ball and the clock.
That is, until Okemos senior guard Fabian Leone found his comfort zone from three-point range. Leone deposited three treys in the third quarter to help Okemos reverse course en route to a 41-37 victory over East Lansing.
Senior guard Evan Thomas scored a game-high 14 points for the Chieftains, who helped their own cause by making 12 of 16 free throw attempts.
Senior guard Jack Morse had one of his best games of the season in leading the Trojan scorers with 12 points. Sophomore guard Andrel Anthony, who picked up two quick fouls in the first two minutes of play, was held to nine points – six below his season average.
“He’s a young guy (Anthony), and he needs to learn to how to stay out of foul trouble,” said East Lansing coach Ray Mitchell. “The first foul was an offensive foul, and that’s a cardinal sin for our number one scorer.
“Not only that, the first possession he broke the play. We’ve got to learn to be patient and run the offense. We’re young and we’re getting there, but we can’t make those kind of mistakes against a very good team and expect to get away with it.”
Anthony’s basket with 2:38 to play cut the margin to 31-28, but Noah Pruitt sealed the Trojans’ fate by making four straight free throws to secure the Okemos victory.
The East Lansing boys (9-7 overall, 5-4 CAAC Blue) return home Tuesday to face Grand Ledge; tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. They’ll host Battle Creek Central in a non-league game on Friday.
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