GRAND LEDGE – Sophia Guzman wasn’t feeling 100 percent after a hard fall on her hip in a recent practice.
But the senior guard gutted it out and delivered in the clutch to help the Grand Ledge girls basketball team take over first place in the CAAC Blue.
Guzman hit four late free throws and drew a charge as the Comets started an important week with a 46-39 victory over East Lansing in a matchup of CAAC Blue co-leaders.
“I just knew I really wanted it and I didn’t want to sit out this game so I knew I had to push through it,” said Guzman, who had nine points.
“Our goal this year from the beginning was to win the conference again and we knew that this was a big week. We really carried our wins into this week and we’re really working on what we want to accomplish at the end of the season.”
Senior forward Mollie Tuthill added 12 points, including six in the fourth quarter, in helping Grand Ledge (8-2, 6-0 CAAC Blue) win its fourth straight and set up another key conference test against Holt on Friday.
Tuthill’s basket with just under four minutes to play was the go-ahead score and part of eight unanswered points the Comets scored to end the game. That included four free throws and a charge drawn by Guzman in the final 40 seconds.
“It was a tough fight out there and both teams played really hard and defended really well,” Grand Ledge coach David Jones said. “It was tough to get some offense going, but gosh at the right time some girls step up and made some big rebounds and big shots to get us to where we needed to be.”
Junior Danni Hanson had 16 points to lead East Lansing (6-5, 5-1), which had just four points in the fourth quarter and was held scoreless the final 5:35 of the contest.
“I told the kids this one hurts right now, but coming in we knew that win, lose or draw that we’re still in it,” East Lansing coach Rob Smith said of the Blue race. “And we still play all the teams again with Okemos coming up Friday and we’ll have these guys on our home floor the second time around. The good part about this is we know that we have to get better. If we win this game, we might take a breath, and that’s not what we’re all about. We have to get better and we know now that we have to be better all the way around.”