OKEMOS – Laya Hartman knows it’s been a couple years since the Okemos girls basketball team has had a winning season.
And the standout sophomore guard has the Chiefs in position to change that.
Hartman has been a big part in a 7-2 start for Okemos, which finds itself in the thick of the CAAC Blue title race. The Chiefs have a big opportunity Friday when they host defending champion East Lansing in what will be a battle for first place.
East Lansing and Okemos enter the week tied atop the CAAC Blue with 5-0 records.
“I’m really excited,” said Hartman, who has the Chiefs off to their best start since they opened the 2010-11 season 7-3. “I think that we have a really good chance. I think everything so far has been so good so it will only get that much better.”
Okemos matched its win total from last season with Friday’s victory over Jackson. First-year Chiefs coach Kristen Rasmussen said she has noticed plenty of good surprises about her team during the first half of the season, but is not looking too far ahead.
“Right now we’re just taking every game as it is,” Rasmussen said. “I think they are really excited about where they are at and the hard work that they’ve put in – it’s paying off. That’s really exciting for them. As far as all the stuff after with playoffs and stuff, we think about it but we still have a lot of season left. I’m just excited for them and the hard work has really paid off. Being undefeated in this league is tough to do.”
East Lansing (7-1) has been one of the hottest teams in area and enters the week with six consecutive wins. The Trojans have won each of their league contests by at least 19 points while owning a share of first in the CAAC Blue.
Here’s a look at some of the other upcoming key contests to watch in the Lansing area this week.
BOYS – OKEMOS AT EVERETT (7 p.m. Tuesday): The Chiefs (6-2) and Vikings (5-3) are part of a three-way tie for third place in the CAAC Blue and have a chance to remain within two games of first-place East Lansing when they meet at Earvin Magic Johnson Gymnasium. This contest is part of big week for Okemos, which hosts East Lansing on Friday.
GIRLS – BATH AT PORTLAND ST. PATRICK (7 p.m. Tuesday): Five teams are within a game of each other atop the CMAC and Bath and St. Patrick are included in that group. St. Patrick (8-2) has won five straight since back-to-back losses to P-W and Laingsburg. Bath is tied for first with P-W and bounced back from a two-point loss to Laingsburg by rolling past Potterville Friday.
BOYS – FOWLER AT PEWAMO-WESTPHALIA (7:30 p.m. Friday): P-W finds itself atop the CMAC in the early stages behind a dominant start to the season. The Pirates have won each of their games by at least 1,8 points during its 6-0 start. Fowler is right behind P-W in the CMAC standings with its 4-1 mark in league play. The Eagles have won three straight since a loss to Bath, which includes a victory over Fulton on Thursday.
BOYS – OLIVET AT LANSING CHRISTIAN (7:30 p.m. Friday): Lansing Christian’s strong start to the season has it atop the GLAC standings. Olivet could have a chance to pull even in the league when it travels to face the Pilgrims. Olivet enters the week with four straight victories since starting the season 1-3.
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.