Vikings win at Kalkaska, at Sault Ste. Marie, and at Kingsley to earn district championship
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
With three wins on the road last week – at Kalkaska, at Sault Ste. Marie, and at Kingsley – the varsity boys basketball squad from Grayling High School earned a district championship, clinching the tournament title with a 63-47 victory vs. the Kingsley Stags on Friday night at Kingsley High School.
The Kingsley game on Friday was close in the first half, but the Vikings ended the third quarter with an 11-2 run, and Grayling maintained a double digit lead the rest of the way to win by 16 points.
The Stags led 11-9 after one quarter of play. Spencer White scored six of Grayling’s first nine points. Troy Summers and Brent Weismiller also scored for the Vikings in the first period.
At halftime, the score was Grayling 24, Kingsley 22.
Summers scored nine of the Vikings’ 15 points in the second quarter with two inside shots, two put-backs, and one free throw. Nick Hunter, White, and Justin Nicholas each hit two free throws for Grayling in the period.
The Vikings scored first in the third quarter with a drive by Summers and a fadeaway jump shot by White. Kingsley hit a jump shot. White converted on two free throw attempts. The Stags hit a three-pointer at the 5:13 mark. Kingsley scored on with jumper at the 4:10 mark.
With four minutes left in the third quarter, Grayling led by one, 30-29.
The Vikings ended the period with an 11-2 run. The series included a drive by Christian Artress, a lay-up by Summers, an inside shot by Summers, an inside shot by White, and a three-pointer by Trey Moffit.
Going into the final eight minutes of regulation, Grayling had a 41-31 advantage.
The Vikings outscored Kingsley 11-1 early in the fourth period to push their lead to 20 points, 52-32. The 11-1 run for Grayling included a three-pointer by Moffit, an inside shot by Summers, a drive by White, and four free throws from White.
Grayling scored 11 points down the stretch with a put-back by Summers, four free throws from Artress, four free throws from White, and one free throw from Summers.
The Vikings won by a final score of 63-47, clinching the District 63-B championship and earning a spot in the Region 16-B tournament.
“We struggled early in the contest. Our defensive pressure was very inconsistent and we were not dominating the 50/50 basketballs. Offensively, we were stagnant. You have got to give Kingsley and Coach Schaar credit for having his guys prepared to play,” Coach Rich Moffit said.
“In the second half, we got our transition game going and did a much better job on the boards. Our guys did a great job of passing the ball and we were able to get the ball to our scorers in areas where they could be effective,” Coach Moffit said.
White finished the game with 26 points, eight rebounds, and two steals. Summers had 20 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, and three blocks.
“I am really happy that this team won a district championship. This team has outstanding chemistry and they truly have formed a bond that will last for a lifetime. As a coaching staff, we have preached that teamwork makes the dream work, and they have embodied that phrase. This group has left a legacy,” Coach Moffit said.
To get to Friday’s district championship game, the Vikings won 51-48 at Sault Ste. Marie on Thursday night in the semifinals, and they defeated the Kalkaska Blazers 64-44 on Monday in a round one district contest at Kalkaska High School. The Region 16-B tournament will be played this week.
“On behalf of our team, we are very grateful for the support that we have received this season from the Grayling community. Viking Nation has traveled with us and supported us and encouraged our players through adversity,” Coach Moffit said.