Grayling defeats top team in the league, moves into three-way tie for top spot in LMC
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Grayling Vikings moved into a tie for first place in the Lake Michigan Conference varsity boys basketball standings with a 76-68 victory vs. the Boyne City Ramblers on Tuesday night in a contest hosted by Grayling High School.
Going into Tuesday night’s game, the Ramblers had sole possession of first place in the Lake Michigan Conference with a 7-1 league record. Grayling and Traverse City St. Francis were tied for second place in the conference at 6-2 in league play. With Grayling defeating Boyne City, and St. Francis winning its league game vs. East Jordan on Tuesday night, the Vikings, Ramblers, and Gladiators moved into a three-way tie for first place in the conference at 7-2. Elk Rapids was in second place after Tuesday night’s games at 6-3 in league play.
The Grayling vs. Boyne City contest came down to pressure free throws late in the fourth quarter, and the Vikings were able to make them; they shot 9 for 10 from the free throw line in the game’s final three minutes of regulation.
The Vikings started strong and led 15-6 early in the contest. Grayling scored its first six points with two inside shots by Troy Summers and two free throws from Justin Nicholas. The Vikings posted a 9-0 run with a three-pointer by Nicholas, two free throws from Spencer White, an inside shot by Summers, and a drive by White. Nicholas hit two more three-pointers for Grayling in the last 1:40 of the first period.
Going into the second quarter, the Vikings had a 21-17 advantage.
Boyne City had a 6-0 run and an 8-0 run during the second period, and the Ramblers led 37-32 at halftime.
Summers scored all 11 of Grayling’s points in the second quarter with three free throws, two put-backs, and two inside shots.
“We started out of the gates very well in the first quarter, scoring 21 points. Justin Nicholas was a key in our offensive surge, hitting three threes and scoring 11 points in that quarter. We struggled at both ends of the court in the second quarter, giving up 20 points and scoring 11. Defensively, we were a step slow in our rotations and were not aggressive offensively,” Coach Rich Moffit said.
The Ramblers scored the first four points of the second half with two inside shots. White scored for GHS on a drive. Nicholas hit another three-pointer at the 6:39 mark. Boyne City scored on a drive.
Grayling trailed 43-37 with 6:21 left in the third period.
Grayling outscored Boyne City 16-7 in the last 6:20 of the quarter. The Vikings scored their 16 with a jump shot by White, two free throws from Nicholas, two inside shots by Summers, a drive by White, a three-pointer by Nicholas, and a three-point play by Ryan Anderson.
After three quarters of play, the Vikings had a 53-50 lead.
Boyne City completed a three-point play early in the fourth period, tying the score at 53-53. White hit a jump shot. The Ramblers made a three-pointer at the 6:14 mark. Grayling scored on a jumper by White and a drive by Christian Artress.
The Vikings led 59-56 with 5:22 left in regulation.
The Ramblers hit two free throws. At the 4:48 mark, Boyne City completed a three-point play. The Ramblers led by two, 61-59.
White hit two free throws at the 4:35 mark. Boyne City scored on an inside shot, putting the Ramblers back up by two.
The Vikings scored nine unanswered points with a three-point play by Summers, one free throw from Artress, a lay-up by Summers, one free throw from Summers, and two free throws from White.
Grayling led by seven, 70-63, with 2:37 left in the game.
Boyne City hit a three-pointer at the 2:00 mark. The Ramblers fouled Nicholas to stop the clock; he made both free throws. Boyne City shot from two-point range, missed, rebounded the ball, shot from three-point range, missed, and then scored on a put-back with 44 seconds left in the period.
Grayling led 72-68.
The Ramblers fouled White, and he converted both free throw attempts. Grayling got the ball back and Boyne City fouled Nicholas; he hit both free throws, giving Grayling a 76-68 lead.
In the final seconds, the Ramblers shot from three-point range, missed, and Summers grabbed the rebound.
The Vikings won 76-68.
“This was a huge win for our kids and our program vs. a very good team,” Coach Moffit said. “We stressed at halftime that we had to be more aggressive at both ends of the court. We scored 44 points in the last two quarters and got to the free throw line 20 times, which was indicative of our ability to attack the rim. I thought we made some stops down the stretch and were solid from the line, making 23 of 29 for the game.”
Summers finished with 27 points, 15 rebounds, and two blocks. Nicholas had 23 points and three steals; he was 5 for 6 from three-point range and 8 for 8 from the free throw line in the game. White had 20 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
“Spencer White was solid in the second half, scoring 16 points and going 8 of 9 from the line. Justin Nicholas was solid from the three-point area and the free throw line. Troy Summers was a beast, scoring 27 points on 11 field goals and collecting 15 boards. Also, the defense from Trey Moffit and Christian Artress were really a key defensively in the second half. Defensively, Sam (Davis), Brent (Weismiller), Ryan (Anderson), and Nick (Hunter) provided a spark off the bench,” Coach Moffit said.
The Vikings (11-3 overall, 7-2 league) will play at Elk Rapids on Friday, Feb. 10.
With games at East Jordan PPD, Grayling now 2nd in league
Going into Friday’s set of Lake Michigan Conference varsity boys basketball games, there was a three-way tie for the top spot in the current standings, and all three squads did something different: one team won, one lost, and one didn’t play as scheduled.
Grayling, Boyne City, and Traverse City St. Francis were all tied for the league lead at the end of the night on Tuesday after the Vikings defeated the Ramblers 76-68 and the Gladiators won their game against East Jordan 76-33. All three squads were 7-2 in league play after Tuesday’s contests.
On Friday night, the Boyne City Ramblers lost 61-51 at Kalkaska High School. The Gladiators of Traverse City St. Francis won 65-41 vs. Charlevoix.
Grayling did not play its scheduled game at East Jordan. The JV games on Thursday and the varsity games on Friday vs. the Red Devils were all postponed due to school being closed in East Jordan because of significant numbers of students being ill.
As of Monday, Feb. 13, the contests had not been rescheduled.
Going into this week, St. Francis was in the top spot in the conference at 8-2, Grayling was second at 7-2, and Boyne City and Elk Rapids were tied for third at 7-3.
The GHS varsity boys basketball team will play at Elk Rapids on Friday, Feb. 10.
Lake Michigan Conference
St. Francis......................8-2 (9-5)
Elk Rapids....................7-3 (10-5)
Boyne City......................7-3 (9-5)
Harbor Springs...............4-6 (7-6)
East Jordan..................0-8 (3-10)
Last week’s scores:
Ellsworth 74, East Jordan 40
St. Francis 76, East Jordan 33
Grayling 76, Boyne City 68
Charlevoix 46, Harbor Springs 36
Elk Rapids 54, Kalkaska 42
Elk Rapids 60, Harbor Springs 51
Kalkaska 61, Boyne City 51
St. Francis 65, Charlevoix 41
Grayling vs. East Jordan, PPD