Vikings open season with 50-36 loss vs. Standish-Sterling Central Panthers
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Grayling High School’s varsity boys basketball squad opened its 2018-2019 season with a 50-36 road loss vs. the Panthers of Standish-Sterling Central High School on Wednesday night.
The Panthers led 9-5 at the end of the first period. Eli Jackson and Conner Brill scored for Grayling in the first eight minutes of regulation.
Standish-Sterling Central made one of two free throw attempts early in the second quarter to lead 10-5. Grayling scored four points with a put-back by Jackson and an inside shot by Brill to pull within one, 10-9. The Panthers converted one of two from the free throw line.
Mitchell Kuziel hit a jump shot for Grayling at the 3:25 mark, tying the game at 11-11. A three-pointer by Kuziel at the 2:40 mark put the Vikings up by three.
The Panthers outscored the Vikings 9-1 in the last 2:39 of the first half, giving Standish-Sterling Central a 20-15 advantage at halftime.
The Panthers scored first in the third quarter with a jump shot at the 5:13 mark. Grayling scored on an inside shot by Jackson. A three-point play for Standish-Sterling Central gave the Panthers a 25-17 lead with 2:21 left in the third period.
Grayling scored four points with a put-back by Brill and a drive to the basket by Ryan Anderson. Standish-Sterling Central led 25-21 with 1:07 remaining in the third quarter.
The Panthers hit a three-pointer at the 0:42 mark. Standish-Sterling Central stole the ball and scored on a fast break lay-up. Grayling made the last basket of the third period – an inside shot by Brill with 11 seconds left – to pull within seven, 30-23.
Standish scored on a fast break lay-up early in the fourth quarter. Anderson scored on a put-back. The Panthers hit a jump shot. Standish-Sterling Central made two free throws. Anderson hit one of two from the free throw line. The Panthers scored on a lay-up. At the 5:15 mark, Anderson made two free throws for Grayling, cutting Standish-Sterling Central’s lead to 10, 38-28.
Five unanswered points for the Panthers gave Standish a 43-28 lead with four minutes left in regulation.
Dylan Cragg hit two free throws for Grayling at the 3:34 mark. Nick Hunter made two free throws at the 3:09 mark.
The Panthers connected on a three-point shot at the 2:36 mark. Cragg hit a jump shot for the Vikings. Standish-Sterling Central hit two free throws. Cragg hit another jump shot at the 1:34 mark. The Panthers made two free throws at the 1:21 mark to lead by 14.
Neither squad scored in the final 1:20 of regulation, and Standish won by a final score of 50-36.
Anderson finished with eight points for the Vikings. Brill had eight points. Jackson had seven points. Cragg had six points. Kuziel had five points.
“Very proud of our effort tonight, being led by Eli Jackson’s physical play defensively and his aggressiveness offensively. Ryan Anderson played extremely tough and will be better running the team, which is a huge responsibility. Nick Hunter, although he didn’t score a bunch, really played well,” Coach Rich Reilly said.
“Defensively we played very well, allowing 50 points. We must continue to improve rebounding,” Coach Reilly said. “We have to get better attacking the paint in our offensive sets.”
The Vikings (0-1 overall, 0-0 league) will play at Roscommon on Tuesday, December 11. Grayling will host Ogemaw Heights on Wednesday, December 12.
“We made a lot of progress since the scrimmage before Thanksgiving break. We must continue to improve each week,” Coach Reilly said.