GRAYLING – Every coach is a little anxious about what they’re going to see from their team when they play their first game after Christmas break, fearing the long layoff will leave accumulated rust that needs to be worked off.
Sometimes, though, it turns out differently, and the team picks right up where it left off before everyone scattered for the holiday. Which is definitely a good thing with teams having only a skeleton crew for practice.
Grayling’s boy’ basketball team had just such a performance in its first game back from the break, exploding out of the gate in the first quarter for a 21-9 lead en route to picking up a 65-42 Lake Michigan Conference win over East Jordan on Thursday, Jan. 4.
The Vikings (4-3, 2-1 LMC) hit a scoring lull in the second quarter, only managing nine points over the eight minutes. But, defensively the Vikings never missed a beat, limiting the Red Devils to nine and taking a 30-18 halftime lead. Grayling outscored the Red Devils, 35-24 in the second half.
“Our guys gave a good effort coming out of Christmas break,” Grayling head coach Rich Moffit said. “I thought out effort at both ends of the court got better as the game went on. I was pleased with our scrappiness at the defensive end with our defensive pressure.
“We were able to (force) East Jordan turnovers and covert (them) into easy baskets. There are three areas we need to improve — interior defense, defensive rebounding and playing at a high level at all times.”
Justin Nicholas led the Vikings with 18 points, followed by Christian Artress with 14 and Trey Moffit with 11. Brent Weismiller added eight points. Nick Hunter, Lou Cotton and Sam Davis had three apiece. Ryan Anderson and Conner Brill each finished with two and Eli Jackson tipped in a free throw.
Hunter and Nicholas shared the Vikings’ rebounding lead with six apiece. Moffit and Anderson dished off three assists each, and Artress had seven steals.
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