Comeback effort falls short, Vikings lose to Blazers 60-56 on Friday

Grayling cuts double digit 4th quarter deficit to two points, but Kalkaska holds on down the stretch to win
The GHS varsity boys basketball team – after trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s home game vs. Kalkaska – pulled within two late in the contest, but the Vikings were not able to complete the comeback attempt, and the Blazers won by a final score of 60-56.
Grayling led 11-7 at the 2:41 mark of the first period. The Vikings scored their first 11 points with an inside shot by Nate Persing, a three-pointer by Dylan Cragg, a jumper by Cragg, a lay-up by Eliot Boik, and an inside shot by Sparty Berry-Skillern. 
Kalkaska scored 14 unanswered points to lead 21-11 with 33 seconds left in the first quarter. Grayling scored the last five points of the period with two free throws from Persing and a three-pointer by Cragg.
The Blazers led 21-16 after one quarter of play.
Kalkaska scored the first two points of the second period with a lay-up. A 9-0 run for Grayling gave the Vikings a 25-23 lead. The series included four free throws from Caleb Caul, a drive by Caul, and a triple by Anthony Harrington. The Blazers completed a three-point play to lead by one with 4:19 left in the first half.
Grayling edged Kalkaska 11-9 during the last 4:18 of the second quarter to lead by one, 36-35, at halftime. The 11 points for GHS included a jump shot by Caul, two free throws from Caul, a lay-up by Caul, a three-point play by Caul, and an inside shot by Persing.
The Vikings opened the second half with a three-pointer by Cragg. Kalkaska scored five points with an inside shot and a three-pointer. Ryan Williams scored for Grayling on an inside shot. The Blazers hit another three-pointer. Kalkaska scored on a jumper at the 3:12 mark. The Vikings tied the score at 45-45 with a jumper by Boik and two free throws from Boik.
Kalkaska hit a three-pointer for the last basket of the third period.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Blazers led 48-45.
Kalkaska extended its lead to 11 with an 8-0 run to start the fourth period.
Grayling battled back with a 9-0 run to pull within two, 56-54. The series included a three-pointer by Matt Pittman, an inside shot by Cragg, a put-back by Persing, and a two-handed dunk by Boik.
Kalkaska scored on a lay-up. Grayling answered with a put-back by Caul. With 2:35 left in the game, the Blazers led 58-56.
Kalkaska converted on one of two free throw attempts at the 1:32 mark, extending its lead to three.
Grayling missed from two-point range. At the other end, Kalkaska missed a three-point attempt and Persing rebounded the ball. The Blazers got the ball back with a steal on the possession. Grayling fouled at the 0:35 mark, and Kalkaska missed the one and one free throw attempt.
The Vikings shot from three-point range, missed, and there was a tie-up on the rebound attempt. The possession arrow favored Kalkaska. There was 11.2 seconds left on the clock.
The Blazers got the ball in bounds and the Vikings fouled, stopping the clock at 9.7 seconds. It was Grayling’s 10th foul of the half, giving Kalkaska two free throws. The Blazers missed the first and made the second, giving Kalkaska a four-point advantage.
Grayling missed a three-point attempt during the final seconds and Kalkaska rebounded the ball, ending the game.
The Blazers won 60-56.
Caul finished the contest with 17 points, six rebounds, and three steals. Cragg had 13 points. Persing had eight points, 11 rebounds, and two steals. Boik had eight points and two steals.
“This was a tough loss for us,” Coach LJ Mead said. “Our kids played really hard, but we also didn’t always play under control. We came out with good energy and were able to turn them over, but didn’t convert on those turnovers. Defensively we played with more enthusiasm, but struggled to rotate and help like we wanted. Kalkaska took advantage of this and knocked down some big shots. Give them credit. Offensively we need to value the ball more. Sometimes we want it so badly that we are forcing things.”
“We have a lot of work to do and our kids are improving daily. As a staff we are proud of our guys and will continue to work hard to put them in the best possible position to grow and succeed,” Coach Mead said.
Grayling will host the Charlevoix Rayders on Friday, February 19.
A limited number of tickets may be available to the public for boys basketball home games this season.
“For boys and girls junior varsity and varsity basketball games tickets will be sold via GoFan. Each school will receive a link ahead of time to send to out their respective teams for pre-sale. At noon on the day of the game the link will become live to the general public and if there are extra tickets they may be purchased from there. You can find the link on the GHS Facebook page or by going to and searching for Grayling High School,” according to the GHS Athletic Department.

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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