Cheboygan ends Grayling’s season with last second three-pointer
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
It came down to the final seconds. The game – a Grayling vs. Cheboygan varsity girls basketball playoff contest played at Cheboygan High School on Monday night – was tied late in the fourth quarter, but the Chiefs hit a three-point basket with just a few seconds remaining in regulation, and the shot ended up being the game winner. Cheboygan won 50-47.
The Chiefs opened the contest – a Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 District 34 tournament game – with an 8-0 run.
Grayling scored its first four points with inside shots by Isabel Duba and Esa Powers. The Chiefs hit a three-pointer at the 1:13 mark. Powers completed a three-point play to pull Grayling within four, 11-7. Cheboygan outscored the Vikings 4-0 during the last 1:12 of the first period.
Going into the second quarter, the Chiefs had a 15-7 advantage.
Emma Mertes hit a jump shot for Grayling early in the second period. Cheboygan scored on a jumper. Madison Longendyke converted on a jump shot for the Vikings. The Chiefs scored.
With 5:58 left in the second quarter, Cheboygan led 19-11.
Grayling scored nine unanswered points to lead 20-19. The run featured a jumper by Powers, an inside shot by Mertes following a steal, an inside shot by Powers, and a three-pointer by Powers.
Cheboygan responded with an 8-0 run. The Chiefs led 27-20 with 1:22 left in the first half.
Jasmine Denton made a three-point basket for Grayling. Mertes scored on an inside shot. Mertes converted on one of two from the free throw line. Grayling trailed by one.
Cheboygan hit a three-pointer in the final seconds of the second quarter. The Chiefs led 30-26 after 16 minutes of regulation.
Grayling opened the third period with an inside shot by Powers. Cheboygan scored. Longendyke converted on an inside shot for the Vikings. Kayleigh Paulus drove to the basket for two points for Grayling. The Chiefs hit a jumper. Cheboygan led 34-32.
Powers hit a three-point basket for Grayling at the 1:55 mark. Denton made two free throws. Duba made one of two from the line during the final seconds of the third quarter.
The Vikings took a 38-34 lead into the fourth period.
Duba converted on one of two from the line. Cheboygan hit a jump shot. Mertes made one of two free throw attempts. The Chiefs hit a three-pointer at the 6:32 mark to pull within one, 40-39. Longendyke scored on an inside shot. Cheboygan scored. Grayling answered with a jump shot by Duba. The Vikings, with 5:23 remaining in regulation, led 44-41.
Cheboygan hit a jump shot. After more than two scoreless minutes, the Chiefs scored on an inside shot to lead 45-44.
Grayling turned the ball over. The Chiefs shot from two-point range, missed, and Longendyke rebounded the ball. The Vikings shot and missed from inside the paint and Cheboygan grabbed the rebound.
The Chiefs shot from three-point range, missed, and Powers got the rebound. At the other end, Cheboygan blocked a Grayling shot attempt and the Chiefs grabbed the loose ball.
Cheboygan turned the ball over, giving Grayling possession with 1:37 left in the fourth period. After a foul on the Chiefs, Duba hit two free throws, giving Grayling a 46-45 lead with 1:12 left in the game.
The Vikings deflected the ball on defense and Powers grabbed the loose ball. Cheboygan fouled Duba, who made one of two free throw attempts. Grayling led 47-45 with 48 seconds left.
The Chiefs scored on an inside shot with 25 seconds left in the fourth period, tying the score at 47-47. Due to a foul on the play, Cheboygan had one free throw attempt with a chance for a three-point play; the Chiefs missed the attempt and Powers got the rebound.
Grayling shot and missed from two-point range. Cheboygan rebounded the ball and passed deep for a fast break opportunity. Hailey Hartman caught up to the ball handler and knocked the ball away to prevent a lay-up attempt, but Cheboygan still had possession. With eight seconds left in the contest, the Chiefs hit a three-pointer, giving Cheboygan a 50-47 advantage.
Grayling got the ball in bounds and the Vikings shot from three-point range just before the buzzer; the attempt did not go in.
Cheboygan won 50-47.
“Monday’s game was a tough fought game. The girls executed our game plan as best as we could. After a slow starting first quarter, our intensity on both sides of the ball really took off, allowing us to tie up the game and at points in the third and fourth quarter control a small lead. Our pressure was able to cause a decent amount of turnovers; though we were not able to capitalize on all of them, we were able to use many to our advantage. We ourselves turned the ball over fewer times than we had all season, which shows the girls’ improvement on taking care of the ball,” Coach Dan Brandt said. “Unfortunately, Cheboygan was able to hit a clutch three to seal the game. I was very proud of the effort and play of the whole team.”
Powers finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals, and six deflections for the Vikings vs. the Chiefs. Duba had nine points, three assists, three steals, and three deflections. Mertes had eight points, three steals, and three deflections. Longendyke had six points. Denton had five points. Hartman had seven rebounds.
The loss ended Grayling’s 2018-2019 season.
“Overall, the season was not what we were hoping for. We were able to show glimpses of great play on both sides of the ball but we were not able to show it consistently enough throughout the season to pick up a few more wins. I think that we made some great gains and will have a lot to look forward to next season having multiple returning players. The girls really stuck to my philosophy that we never quit and we play hard from tip to final buzzer,” Coach Brandt said.
With the win, Cheboygan advanced to the Division 2 District 34 semifinals. Kingsley earned a spot in the tournament’s semifinal round with a 70-29 victory vs. Boyne City on Monday night.
In the semifinal round of the tournament on Wednesday, Kalkaska won 48-40 vs. Cheboygan and Kingsley defeated Sault Ste. Marie 51-39, according to the MHSAA.
In the District 34-2 championship game on Friday night, Kingsley clinched the tournament title with a 61-22 victory vs. the Kalkaska Blazers, according to the MHSAA.