Trojans Take Two in the (CAAC) Blue from Grand Ledge

Saturday, January 18, 2020, 9:00 am
Mark Meyer

East Lansing senior Ahlura Lofton (23), pictured here earlier this month in a game against Edison Academy, scored a season-high 20 points Friday in the Trojans' 76-26 victory over Grand Ledge. (Photo by Jim Pivarnik)

The post-game cupcake couldn’t have tasted any sweeter for East Lansing senior forward Ahlura Lofton on Friday night. She had just scored a season-high 20 points (13 more than her average) on a perfect 4-for-4 beyond the three-point arc, helping the Trojans to a 76-26 victory over Grand Ledge at the ELHS gymnasium.

The visiting Comets suffered their first loss in conference play to drop a game and a half behind the Trojans in the race for the Capital Area Activities Conference (CAAC) Blue division crown.

East Lansing, which was led in scoring by senior forward Aaliyah Nye’s 21 points, improved to 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the CAAC Blue.

After three days of first semester final exams, Lofton and her teammates were not about to relinquish the home-court advantage to their nearest conference competitor.

“We were really concentrating on remaining level-headed and not worrying about the uncontrollables — like the referee’s calls or how the other team was playing against us,” Lofton said “Just focus on our game and what we need to do to be successful.”

The victory was the Trojans’ third straight after opening the month with a loss to Detroit powerhouse Edison Academy.

“We moved past it pretty quickly,” Lofton said of the team's lone loss. “We knew it wasn’t one of our best games but we’ll learn from it and get better. Most of all, we need to dominate our home court and not let anyone come into our house and show us how to play basketball.”

East Lansing established its up-tempo right from the start by scoring 18 of the game’s first 22 points.

“This was the first time all year we put together a complete game,” said East Lansing head coach Rob Smith. “So, props to the girls for picking up their leadership and focusing on championship play. We’ve been working hard in practice and it’s fun to watch.”

Not so much for the visiting Comets, who fell behind 29-8 after the first quarter and trailed 54-19 at halftime.

“Tonight was a big night for us because Grand Ledge was undefeated in the conference, and so we were able to get one game closer to our goal of winning the conference,” Smith said. “And that’s always a good thing on your home floor.”

Everyone played and scored for the Trojans, who return to action Tuesday for a 7 p.m. home game against St. Johns.

Friday night’s scores
East Lansing 76, Grand Ledge 26
DeWitt 43, Holt 41
Haslett 42, Williamston 31
St. Johns 40, Eastern 25
Lansing Catholic 50, Ionia 47
Charlotte 42, Lansing Sexton 25

Wourman leads East Lansing boys over Grand Ledge: Junior guard Marcus Wourman Jr. scored a game-high 19 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, to lead the Trojans to a 59-51 victory.

East Lansing broke open a close game by scoring the first nine points of the fourth quarter to lead 50-38 with 4:45 to play. After David Wilkerson scored on a layup to put the Trojans ahead 45-38 with 5:45 remaining, Wourman converted a three-point play and then fed Andrel Anthony Jr. (13 points) for a layup on successive possessions.

The Trojans were able to run some time off the clock by using their speed and quickness to control the ball on offense while resisting the opportunity to force a shot in a one-on-one situation.

“I’m more concerned with our starts right now, the way we’re starting games,” East Lansing head coach Ray Mitchell said. “I know I shuffled the lineup a bit, and I’m not sure if it’s stage fright or what, but we scripted the first four or five plays and didn’t run one of them correctly.”

Mitchell inserted Brevin Jackson into the starting lineup and the sophomore guard responded by scoring nine points.

“We like to say, ‘Inch by inch, yard by yard … life is hard.’ It’s a step in the right direction,” Mitchell said of his Trojans, who improved to 7-1 overall, 4-1 in the CAAC Blue. “I felt like we could have made some better decisions towards the end, but we’ll go over that and try to get better.

“Brevin Jackson is a skilled athlete who can do a lot things offensively for us, but I’ve been harping on him to pick it up defensively. It’s a much different pace on the varsity level than on junior varsity or grade school ball. I think he understands that but now it’s time to execute.”

Friday night’s scores
East Lansing 59, Grand Ledge 51
Everett 72, Waverly 52
DeWitt 60, Holt 52
Williamston 56, Haslett 37
Ionia 69, Lansing Catholic 63
Sexton 58, Charlotte 52
Eastern 49, St. Johns 44

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