LANSING – Brandon Johns wasn’t about holding on to the ball late.
The East Lansing star junior forward knows how offense is generated for the scrappy Everett boys basketball team, and didn’t want to play into their strength of forcing turnovers.
So Johns and the Trojans kept attacking.
And that helped them finish things out while picking up a big early CAAC Blue victory.
Johns had 15 points, including six in the final quarter, as East Lansing remained perfect with a 59-53 victory over Everett at Earvin “Magic” Johnson Gymnasium on Friday night.
DeAndre Robinson added 12 points for the Trojans, who overcame foul trouble all night and made plays late to knock off Everett in a rematch of last year’s Class A regional final that the Vikings won.
“It was really big for us,” said Johns, who also had seven blocks. “Going against adversity pretty much the whole game and coming out with the win is a big thing for us against a great team and a great defending team.”
Nyreel Powell had 13 points – all from the free-throw line – before fouling out in the fourth quarter to pace Everett, which never led while falling to 2-1. Jalen Hayes added 10 points off the bench for the Vikings.
Everett was within three with just under three minutes remaining following a basket by Kel Fomby.
But Johns answered with a pair of free throws and then made a 3 with just over two minutes left that were key for East Lansing in fending off the Vikings.
“Big-time players know how to come through and Brandon Johns hit a big 3 from the corner,” East Lansing coach Steve Finamore said. “In the past, we’ve kind of succumbed to the pressure, but we’ve got Westin Myles – a four-year varsity player. (We’ve got) Xzavier Odom and Brandon Johns, a three-year (varsity) player. (We have) DeAndre Robinson. Those guys know how to finish games.”
Everett missed a dunk with about a minute remaining that would have made it a one possession game.
Powell thought the Vikings were in the contest all night but failed to make the plays when needed.
“We had plenty of chances and we just couldn’t get a bucket,” Powell said.
“We were playing hard, don’t get me wrong. It was just nothing was falling.”