OKEMOS – Grand Ledge girls basketball coach David Jones has noticed the shift in his team’s defensive focus in recent weeks.
But he wasn’t anticipating the performance the Comets were able to put together Friday night against a conference foe.
Jones’ ball club was able to avenge an early-season loss to Okemos with a stout defensive effort and grab a 46-29 road victory. The win was Grand Ledge’s sixth straight, and it held the Chiefs to their lowest point total of the season.
“It was a group effort,” Jones said. “We were a little concerned about the rebounds and the second-chance shots we were allowing, but for an effort out there, I was really pleased.
“It’s something we’ve been pushing toward, but tonight they really stepped up.”
FRIDAY NIGHT HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
The Comets (11-4, 7-2), who are now tied with Okemos for second in the CAAC Blue, were able to couple a strong defensive night with a well-rounded scoring performance. Senior Allyson Hunt scored eight of her 10 points in the first half and helped Grand Ledge take an 18-15 lead into the locker room.
The Comets separated themselves by outscoring the Chiefs (9-5, 7-2), 18-6, in the third quarter. Junior Maddie McKinley scored all eight of her points during the game-changing spurt, and sophomore Mackenzie Todd scored five of her team-high 12 points during that span.
Brooke Rambo, who scored 11 points, also added five points during the run.
“We have many outside scorers, so we can get the ball from the outside to the inside,” Hunt said. “It’s very helpful to hit 3s and get the momentum flowing.”
Okemos was unable to find any momentum following its 7-2 run to end the second quarter. Freshman forward Jasmine Clerkley led the way for the Chiefs with 12 points, and seven of them came in the first 16 minutes.
First-year Okemos coach Kristen Rasmussen wasn’t pleased with her team’s intensity to begin the night, and she believes it lingered throughout the rest of the contest.
“I wish I could say that and agree that we are young, but nothing can replace intensity and how aggressive you are,” said Rasmussen, who has six underclassmen on her roster. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or a senior, the way you approach (the game) is what I’m trying to drive home to these players.
“(Grand Ledge) took advantage of it. It’s like the old saying, ‘When they get down, don’t let them breathe.’ I wish we were able to overcome it, but the mentality of it (was) young.”
Sophomore Laya Hartman added six points for the Chiefs.
Contact James L. Edwards III at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.