Trojans Take Pride in ‘Home’ Ownership

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 8:34 am
Mark Meyer

Andrel Anthony Jr. (3) scored 15 points and Ethan Dunn contributed eight during Tuesday night’s 56-42 victory over Marshall. (Photos by Gary Caldwell)

Protecting the home floor might seem like a fairly straightforward concept to most, if not all, athletic teams … but getting it done, game after game, is easier said than done.

The East Lansing boys basketball team found that out the hard way last season but the Trojans have more than made up for it through six games without a home loss this year. Their 56-42 victory Tuesday night over Marshall was workmanlike and under control from the opening tip until late in the fourth quarter, as head coach Ray Mitchell rotated his lineup throughout all four quarters with various combinations that clicked both offensively and defensively.

Junior guard Andrel Anthony Jr. played with his usual flair, scoring 15 points and grabbing nine rebounds.

Senior forward Malakai Matthews (above) and sophomore center Ethan Dunn provided the inside muscle with 11 and eight points, respectively, while junior guard Marcus Wourman Jr. scored four points and handed out five assists.

Sophomore guard Mason Woods, in a reserve role, scored seven points and added to the Trojans’ defensive energy.

Toss in an assortment of valuable contributions from senior forward Tyrese Windham, junior guard David Wilkerson and sophomore guard Brevin Jackson and you end up with a total team effort — something head coach Ray Mitchell (below) believes will lead to bigger and better days for his ballclub.

In his second year as head coach, ELHS alum Ray Mitchell has led the Trojans to a 10-1 record.

“You always want to play well at home in front of your friends and family, so it feels great to be undefeated at home,” Mitchell said. “But we have to keep it up. We still have five more games here [at home], so we’re only halfway through the season.”

“We’ve been emphasizing since the Okemos game [a 69-51 loss on Jan. 14] to share the ball a little bit more, and just be more of a team,” Mitchell added.  We have a lot of great individuals who can go one-on-one but in order for us to achieve our goals, we have to learn how to play team basketball.”

Trailing 14-13 after a late first quarter surge by Marshall, the Trojans turned matters in their favor by outscoring (and outplaying) the Redhawks over the next 16 minutes to lead 44-29 at the outset of the fourth quarter.

Very similar to the ELHS girls’ victory the night before, the Trojan boys shot extremely well from the free-throw line. In the second half, they made 14 of 15 attempts.

Junior guard David Wilkerson scored five points against Marshall Tuesday night.

“Last year we just did not play too well at home, but this year we came in and said we have to at least protect the house. So we’re just trying to give it our all,” Matthews said. “We played good basketball, running our plays all the way through and getting good looks at the rim. We rebounded and played well on defense, pretty much a complete game.”

The Trojans, now 10-1 overall and 6-1 in the CAAC Blue, will travel to Waverly on Friday to meet the Warriors, 2-8 overall and 0-6 in the league.

“We’re starting to buy into it, but I wish they’d buy into it more,” Mitchell said. “You can’t always fast break every time down the floor. We’ve been able to run some sets, be patient, and wait for the opening when it’s there. It’ll happen but we have to be patient.”

  • The Trojan junior varsity team continued its winning ways in the preliminary game by defeating Marshall in overtime, 81-73.
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