TRAVERSE CITY — A recent road trip did not turn out well for the Grayling boys basketball team, as the Vikings lost both games after a three-game winning streak and fell to 10-7 overall and 7-5 in the Lake Michigan Conference.
First, the Vikings went to Elk Rapids on Feb. 13 and suffered an 83-65 setback, and then took on league-leading Traverse City St. Francis on Feb. 16 and lost, 69-40.
Elk Rapids is currently fourth in the conference with an 8-4 record and 10-7 overall. Boyne City sits alone in second place at 9-3 (13-4 overall) behind the Gladiators (11-5, 11-0 LMC). Kalkaska is tied with the Elks at 8-4 in the league and is 12-4 overall.
St. Francis 69, Grayling 40
It was a tight game in the first half, with the Gladiators opening the game with a 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. They outscored the Vikings, 19-16 in the second to build an 11-point cushion, 33-22 at the half.
But, the Glads pulled even further away from the Vikings with a 26-6 third quarter, and went into the fourth period wtih a substantial 59-28 margin. Grayling scored closer with the Gladiators in the final stanza, getting outscored only 13-12.
“We shot well from the (3-point) arc, hitting 50 percent of our shots,” Grayilng coach Rich Moffit said. “However, we struggled to defend the 3, especially in transition as St. Francis hit for 14 three-point bombs on us.
“We also struggled to get to the free throw line, shooting a season low two free throw attempts in the game. We have to improve on this area of our game.”
Christian Artress and Trey Moffit shared the team scoring lead with nine points apiece, Justin Nicholas added seven, Brent Weismiller contributed six, Chris Hunter had four, Cam Sova three and Conner Brill two. Nicholas added six rebounds, two steals and three assists.
Kenton Peck made nine 3-point baskets and finished with a game-high 29 points for St. Francis.
Elk Rapids 83, Grayling 65
Grayling stayed close to the Elks for awhile, trailing by only three points, 19-16 at the end of the first quarter. But, the Elks expanded their lead to nine points, 39-30 at the half.
The Elks further stretched their lead to 23 points, 65-42 going into the fourth period. Grayling outscored the Elks, 23-21 in the final stanza, but it wasn’t nearly
enough to get back in the game.
Nicholas led the Vikings in scoring with 26 points. He was the only Viking in double figures. Hunter was the second leading scorer with eight points, Davis contributed seven, Artress and Brill each had six, Moffit put in five, Louis Cotton added three and Ryan Anderson and Weismiller each had two.
“Nicholas was outstanding offensively, and Sam Davis gave us some great minutes, and played very well on the offensive end of the court,” Grayling coach Rich Moffit said.
“We battled early, but could not stop the Hawkins kid inside. On the positive side, we forced him into nine turnovers. But, he hurt us on the glass big time.”
Jack Hawkins had a game-high 31 to lead Elk Rapids.
Nicholas led the Vikings with seven rebounds, while Brill added six boards. Moffit and Nicholas each had three assists and Davis came away with two steals on defense.
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