Trojans Take a Pair from Battle Creek Central

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Saturday, February 16, 2019, 8:35 am
Mark Meyer

Above: Jack Morse (l) and Freshman guard Soraya Timms (r). Photo credit: Jim Pivarnik

With two games left in the regular season and district play less than two weeks away, East Lansing senior Jack Morse knows time is short if he and his fellow Trojans want to continue playing into the month of March.

Collectively they took a step forward Friday night by posting a 62-49 nonleague victory over visiting Battle Creek Central, and in the process the Trojans – now 10-8 on the season -- snapped a three-game losing skid.

It’s the manner in which they won that gives Morse reason to believe this young team can be a factor in the postseason.

“After Wednesday (a 58-49 loss to Grand Ledge) we were on a three-game losing streak, so I thought it was important to stress to the guys that we need to stick together and have fun while we’re on the court,” Morse said. “So we talked about it again before this game, and I think it showed.

“Guys were out there smiling, having fun … and we won by more than 10 points. That’s a good feeling. That’s what we want.”

The Trojans also capitalized on a strong effort from their post players as sophomore Ethan Boyd (6-foot-7), freshman Ethan Dunn (6-foot-9) and senior Nick Beekman (6-foot-5) combined for 20 points and 12 rebounds.

“To tell you the truth, we’ve been working toward this all season,” East Lansing head coach Ray Mitchell said afterward. “I’m really happy to see those three guys turn the corner a little bit. We knew it was going to happen eventually, so better late than never.”

Boyd scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds; Dunn scored six points and Beekman had four.

“They’re big kids, they have size and they can really help the team if we can get them going,” Mitchell said.

Showdown at DeWitt next in line for Trojan girls

East Lansing’s 17th win of the season without a loss showed that the Associated Press’ top-ranked team in Division 1 cannot afford to take a night off if it wants to contend for the State championship, let alone defend its Capital Area Activities Conference Blue Division title. The latter will be up for grabs Monday night at DeWitt.

The Trojans’ 59-31 victory over Battle Creek Central in the nightcap of the Friday doubleheader didn’t score them any style points but a persistent effort staved off any hopes the visiting Bearcats might have had of springing an upset.

“After it’s all said and done and we look back at this one – piggy-backed on our worst defensive effort of the season against Grand Ledge (Wednesday night) – it’s the sloppiest game we’ve played in quite a long time,” East Lansing coach Rob Smith said. “I felt like we were selfish, that we weren’t sharing the ball like we normally do. It’s a head-scratcher.”

Junior forward Aaliyah Nye led East Lansing in scoring with 15 points, but it was overall spirited play of freshman Soraya Timms that kept the Trojans on track throughout the game. Timms converted five of her six field goal attempts (including one trey) for 12 points, to go with a team-high five rebounds and three assists.

“I said at halftime that Soraya was our most solid player on the floor,” Smith said. “But when you’re saying that about a freshman, when you have three junior starters who aren’t focused and don’t have their heads in the game, it reflects the outcome. We just were not playing East Lansing basketball.”

Check out the box scores for the girls game here.

Editor's note: On February 14, 2019, Athletic Director Nikki Norris called out to the court ELPD Officer Steve Whelan to recognize him for having been named ELPD's Officer of the Year. The following photo was provided to us by Jim Pivarnik. You can read about Whelan's long service as East Lansing's school resource officer in this special profile by ELi's Ann Kammerer.


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