In a battle between two conference heavyweights, East Lansing scored a knockout on Tuesday night, as it dropped Grand Ledge, 58-34.
Both teams entered the game with just one loss, and the Class A No. 4 Trojans knew that the ninth-ranked Comets would be trying to assert themselves as the top girls team in the league.
“It’s fun to have a target on your back, and it’s fun to run as fast as you can and try to stay ahead of them,” said East Lansing coach Rob Smith.
With the win, East Lansing (10-1) extends its conference win streak to 55 games. It’s a mark that the Trojans take a lot of pride in.
“I think about it all the time,” Smith said. “If I don’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it.”
East Lansing wasted no time showing why that streak is still intact. Piper Tucker had a three-point play on the Trojans’ first possession to give them a lead they would keep throughout.
On defense, East Lansing was stifling. Grand Ledge (10-2) ended five of its first six possessions with a turnover.
“I couldn’t have told you that it would start that way,” Smith said. “I thought it would be a lot different, and we planned for it to be a lot different.”
The Comets scored just two points in the second quarter, both of which came from the free throw line. By halftime, East Lansing led 34-12, and the game was essentially over.
East Lansing is peaking at the right time again. Senior Taylor Gordon, who led the Trojans with 16 points, believes that comes down to chemistry.
“We just play really well together,” Gordon said.
“There are eight seniors that play a lot, and we’ve been playing together since we were little.”
Things could have been a bit closer, though, were it not for a bit of bad luck before the game started for Grand Ledge. The team’s leading scorer, Lindsay Orwat, missed the game with an illness. Starting point guard Sophie Guzman was out with a knee injury.
But the Comets believe it was more than just injuries that led to the defeat.
“We have to learn from it and learn how to handle these moments,” said Grand Ledge coach David Jones.
“We need to find a way to get better.”
These two teams will meet again in East Lansing on Feb. 19.