It looked like Holt and East Lansing were in for a CAAC Blue girls showdown on Friday night through one quarter, but the Rams suffered a big loss shortly thereafter.
Freshman guard Kamrin Reed, who has led Holt early on this season with her scoring, left the game at the 7:51 mark of the second quarter after being hit in the head on a collision during a drive to the basket.
After Reed was helped off the floor, East Lansing proceeded to go on a 13-2 run and the Trojans outscored Holt 19-7 in the second quarter en route to a 70-43 win.
“The mindset didn’t change at all. That’s what I was pretty proud of — our game plan, our attack was right on,” Holt coach Doug Harkema said. “We had it all perfectly set. Our depth went when we lost her and we lost a really good player for the rest of the game
The Trojans (5-0) had no issues with depth, as 10 players scored. Senior post players Grace Whelan and Kelcie Haizlip led East Lansing with 13 points each.
“Having a size advantage is really successful against these kinds of teams because you can get the boards and get good passes over the top,” Whelan said.
“The key is we were able to get the ball inside,” East Lansing coach Rob Smith said. “Grace and Kelcie work extremely hard on the boards. I think they’re excellent post players offensively. … It’s just a matter of continuing to do the work — and they’ve got a lot to do — but I believe in them. And throw Piper (Tucker) in there, and we’ve got a nice line there.”
Junior guard Meechi Thompson added 10 points for East Lansing.
Whelan stepped outside the 3-point arc and buried a shot to spur the Trojans’ run at the beginning of the second quarter. East Lansing continued to pull away before sophomore guard Tara Lierman buried a 3-pointer to stop the scoring burst.
Lierman had 16 points to lead the Rams (5-1).
The Trojans kept on Holt with the press after halftime and built their lead to 21 heading to the final quarter.
East Lansing was playing just their second game since Dec. 7, but easily dispatched what might end up being their toughest competition in the CAAC Blue in the previously unbeaten Rams.
“We’ve played two games in two weeks. We’ve had like five practices for each game,” Smith said. “Even though they’ve worked extremely hard in practice and executed well, it’s a lot different going against competition. And our schedule just wasn’t really conducive early on to challenging us the way we need to be challenged, to get a lot better in terms of preparing for the state tournament.
“Holt definitely gave us everything that we could hope for in terms of competition.”