Varsity girls basketball team falls to Bucks 45-32 in season opener
The Grayling Vikings – in a varsity girls basketball contest played at Grayling High School on Tuesday night – battled back in the fourth quarter vs. the Roscommon Bucks, cutting a double-digit Roscommon lead to six with close to six minutes remaining in regulation, but the Bucks outscored the Vikings down the stretch to win 45-32.
Grayling did not shoot the ball well and struggled to get its offense in sync at times, especially early in the game.
“Our girls came out and played with great effort all night, never quit. We got off to a bit of a slow start, some of which can be attributed to first-game jitters, but I think our girls did a good job of settling in and letting the game come to them,” Coach Sparky Nitchman said. “I was very impressed with the way we broke their press, and with our patience on offense. We created the good looks that we wanted, just couldn’t get the shots to fall.”
At the end of the first quarter, the score was 10-7 in favor of Roscommon. The Bucks led by seven, 19-12, after a low scoring first half.
The Vikings scored their first 12 points of the contest with two free throws from Natalie Amy, an inside shot by Mallory Hatfield, a three-pointer by Amy, a jumper by Molly Leslie, and free throws from Amy and Hatfield.
The Bucks outscored Grayling 12-7 in the third quarter, including an 8-0 run in the middle of the period, and Roscommon took a 31-19 advantage into the fourth quarter.
The Vikings scored seven points in the third period with a three-pointer by Amy, an inside shot by Madison Longendyke, and a jump shot by Hatfield.
The Bucks scored the first three points of the fourth quarter with an inside shot and one free throw. Roscommon led by 15, 34-19.
Amy and Erin Prosser hit three-pointers to cut Roscommon’s lead to nine. Amy hit one of two free throw attempts. Prosser scored on a put-back at the 5:44 mark, cutting the Bucks’ lead to six, 34-28.
Roscommon scored six unanswered points to lead 40-28.
Grayling scored four points with two jumpers by Leslie. The Bucks led 40-32 with 2:36 remaining in regulation.
Roscommon outscored Grayling 5-0 in the last 2:35 of the game. The Bucks won by 13, 45-32.
It was Grayling’s first game of the 2016-2017 season.
“Overall, I think our girls improved, and that is what we set out to do. Looking forward to Friday’s game against Lake City and to seeing the girls compete again,” Coach Nitchman said.
Amy had 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals for the Vikings vs. Roscommon. Leslie had six points, five assists, and three steals. Hatfield had five points and seven rebounds. Prosser had five points.
Grayling will play at Ogemaw Heights on Thursday, Dec. 8.
On Sunday, Dec. 11, the Vikings will play against Houghton Lake at The Palace of Auburn Hills, current home court of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Detroit Pistons. The game starts at 1 p.m. Tickets are available in the Grayling High School office for $30. The ticket is good for the Grayling vs. Houghton Lake game and the Pistons vs. the Philadelphia 76ers NBA game at 6 p.m.
Vikings lose by three, 38-35, at Lake City on Friday
The varsity girls basketball squad from Grayling High School lost by three points, 38-35, vs. the Lake City Trojans on Friday night during a nonconference contest hosted by Lake City. It was Grayling’s second game of the 2016-2017 season.
Grayling trailed by two, 17-15, at halftime. Lake City had a 28-23 advantage going into the fourth period. The Vikings trailed by three late in the fourth quarter and had two three-point shot attempts in the final 30 seconds with opportunities to tie it, but they were not able to convert.
Natalie Amy had 13 points and two steals for GHS. Molly Leslie had 10 points and five rebounds.
“Mallory Hatfield played an incredible game. She was a lockdown defender and completely wore out the girls that were sent to guard her. It won’t show in the stat sheet, but that was the best all-around game that I have seen in a long time,” Coach Sparky Nitchman said.
“Really proud of the effort and intensity that the girls showed tonight. They had a great week of practice, played their hearts out tonight, and it showed,” Coach Nitchman said. “Our full-court press and our press break were both successful, and the girls did a great job of playing under control and letting the game come to them. Our goal was to have less than 22 turnovers, and we ended up only turning the ball over 19 times.”
The Vikings (0-2 overall, 0-0 league) will play at West Branch Ogemaw Heights on Thursday, Dec. 8. On Sunday, Dec. 11, Grayling will battle Houghton Lake at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
“Looking forward to three games this coming week, and to continue our improvement,” Coach Nitchman said.