By: John Raffel
East Lansing falls in state quarterfinals
The season for East Lansing’s boys basketball team came down to the quarterfinals with a 58-55 loss to Holland West Ottawa.
It ended a banner season at 22-4 for the Trojans.
Kevin Mayes coached the team starting in mid-February when regular skipper Steve Finamore reportedly got suspended and then resigned after an argument with a player’s parent and his athletic director.
Mayes was disappointed with the quarterfinal loss.
“On Saturday (March 17), I went to our girls state finals game against Saginaw Heritage,” Mayes said. “My daughter is on that team and I watched as we shot a lot of threes and struggled against the zone. Then I watched my Spartans lose. It was the same type of scenario.
“Something that stuck with me from a clinic long time ago is that you need to practice against a zone. It is different and not many people do it. (West Ottawa) came out in that 3-2 zone. But we had been preparing for it. They had played man-to-man against Muskegon. In our first half we didn’t get as many touches to Brandon Johns as we’d like. We were hitting them. In the first half, we settled for jump shots and didn’t get as many inside touches.”
Turnovers also hurt in the quarterfinal game, Mayes recalled.
“They were not pressing us,” he said. “What it really came down to was our teams trying to create something that wasn’t there; make the simple pass to the guy in the short corner, make the simple pass to whomever was in the middle. As the game was winding down, we shot two free throws in the fourth and they were 12-for-14. You take advantage of your opportunities and they capitalized on them. But we had bad turnovers and it was 100 percent on us. The officiating was great.”
Johns, a prized recruit for Michigan, led the team with 26 points and 10 rebounds per game.