STURGIS – Amelia McNutt has been a calm and quiet leader on the court for the East Lansing girls basketball team all season.
But Trojan coach Rob Smith knows his junior guard also has a bulldog mentality on the court
And she used that to help send the Trojans into Thursday’s regional final.
McNutt had a season-high 26 points as East Lansing posted a 60-45 victory over Battle Creek Lakeview in a Class A regional semifinal at Sturgis High School on Tuesday.
“She gets out there and she really battles and she really fights,” Smith said. “Tonight she made a decision that we weren’t going home at this stage.”
McNutt was 9 of 11 from the field and delivered all night, especially in the second half to help East Lansing take control of what was a tight contest.
“(My shot) was feeling good and I was proud because I’m ready to help my team out,” said McNutt, who had her fourth 20-point performance of the season. “My whole team played great at the end.
“I just played team ball and wanted to get my team hype so we could get this win because we really needed it and we deserved it.”
Jaida Hampton added 17 points for the Trojans, who improved to 21-2 and advance to face Kalamazoo Central in the regional final.
The Trojans used an 18-0 run sparked by McNutt and Hampton to take control of the game during the second half. McNutt started the run in the latter stages of the third quarter by hitting a 3 that tied the game at 37. She also finished it by hitting a pair of free throws with 5:47 remaining that added to a double-digit advantage.
“We did a lot better job boxing out, and then we got some shots to fall and we were aggressive going to the basket,” Smith said. “That’s kind of when (Amelia) and Jaida took over and that was good to see. Kalaia Hampton chipped in there with seven points off the bench and that was huge for us.”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.