EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The last time the East Lansing girls basketball team lost a CAAC game was back on Feb. 18, 2019, to DeWitt.
In a battle of reigning champs on Saturday, it appeared Portland had a chance to top the Trojans.
The game was tied at eight, after the first quarter, but from there East Lansing took off and rolled to a 64-35 win over Portland.
“Once we started to share the ball better, we got open looks and kids started knocking them down,” East Lansing basketball coach, Rob Smith said. “Super proud of the kids effort tonight. They really worked hard against a very good Portland team. We’re going to go home tonight and enjoy this one and get ready for a huge ten days coming up with Waverly, Holt, and Dewitt.”
The Trojans went on a 11-0 run to open the 2nd quarter, and never looked back.
The player that started that 11-0 run was senior Annelise Lebeda, who hit back-to-back threes to start the second quarter.
Last season, Lebeda tore her ACL and missed the 2019-20 season. On her comeback journey, she finished with 16 points for the Trojans on Saturday.
“What people don’t realize about Annelise is that she would have started on last year’s very impressive team,” Smith said. “She went down with and ACL and she’s just bounced back incredibly, and we’re so blessed to have her healthy now and leading the team as a senior.”
When asked about the difference from last season to this season, Lebeda said, “It’s definitely different from being on the bench and cheering my teammates on. It’s a lot better to be out there and play with my teammates. It’s just been hard to get back into the grove of everything, but it has been good to get back out there.”
Being a senior, Lebeda is one of the Trojan’s leaders on the court. She also plays a leadership role in the classroom.
“Annelise has an extremely high basketball IQ, she’s been playing since she was little,” Smith said. “She’s a quiet leader, but she leads by example in terms of grades. She’s amazing in the classroom. She can go to any college in this county, academically.”
Smith and Lebeda will return to the court on Thursday for a game at Waverly.