LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Two of the teams that had their chance at a state title taken away in March, due to COVID-19, returned to the hardwood Thursday night.
That would be the Okemos boys, who have won the CAAC Blue three years in a row, and the East Lansing girls, who have captured six straight CAAC Blue titles.
The Chiefs welcomed in, the Hawks of Saginaw Heritage for the season opener. Despite a little bit of rust, Okemos picked up its first win of the season, 57-43.
“It’s been so long since we’ve been in a real competitive environment, and I thought they handled it relatively well considering the circumstances,” Okemos basketball coach, Jeff Wonch said after the game. “We’ve got a long way to go, as does every team probably, but just happy to be out here on the hardwood again.”
The Chiefs took a 33-20 lead into halftime. Heritage cut the lead to seven in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as this one got.
Junior guard, Will Young led Okemos with a game-high 21 points while also pulling down 10 rebounds. Senior forward, KJ Rai added 10 points to the Chiefs total.
“They did a nice job of being where the ball was at, and we got some putbacks,” Wonch said. “A joy to out here. I hope those guys are smiling because they’re playing a game they absolutely love.”
Okemos will play its second game of the season on Saturday, against Lansing Everett.
For the East Lansing girls, if you were to ask around town, many would tell you they were the favorite to win it all last year. A team that featured four girls who went on to play at the college level, including Miss. Basketball runner-up Aaliyah Nye.
Rob Smith and company welcomed in Grand Ledge to start the season. And at East Lansing the Trojans don’t rebuild, they reload.
The Trojans took down the Comets, 76-35, improving to 1-0 on the season.
East Lansing will host Portland on Saturday night.