Senior Piper Tucker scored nine of East Lansing’s 21 points in a key second-quarter run that propelled the Trojans toward a 60-39 nonleague victory at DeWitt on Tuesday night.
The Class A No. 5 Trojans led just 11-9 after one quarter when Tucker scored the first three points and the last four of the 19-6 run that extended East Lansing’s lead to 30-15 with 2:11 left before halftime.
“In the first quarter, we were playing so hard and keeping the tempo under control one defensive stop at a time,” DeWitt coach Bill McCullen said. “Then they started to assert themselves down low. All of a sudden we’re only getting one shot on offense, and they’re running off of those misses. Against a good team like that, you can’t afford to give them put-backs, layups and two-on-ones. That was the game.”
Tucker and junior Meechi Thompson scored 14 points each for East Lansing (8-1).
“Piper Tucker played her best game of the year, and it was real nice having Gracie (Whelan) back in the lineup,” East Lansing coach Rob Smith said. “And defensively our scheme was pretty good in terms of getting them out of the flow of their offense.”
Whelan scored seven points after missing two games with a concussion, and fellow 6-foot-3 senior Kelcie Haizlip had 12 points and six rebounds while holding DeWitt senior center Kaylee Schmitt to one point.
“Tucker’s a great athlete, and they start 6-3, 6-3 and she’s 6-foot,” McCullen said. “Trying to figure out who’s going to match up with who becomes an issue, and we got into some foul trouble trying to keep the big bodies off the blocks and the glass.”
Junior Alexis Banaszak scored 11 points, and junior Hannah Stoll added 10 points to lead the Class A honorable mention Panthers (9-3).
“It was a big win for us against a great program,” Smith said. “With tough teams like them in our district, it’s all about getting better for the CAAC Blue and the tournament.”