Bobcats trounced by Vikings in District finale, 71-40
The Vikings set the tone early opening the game on an 8-0 run. The Bobcats answered when senior Kyle Akin nailed a three-point basket, however the Vikings finished the quarter on a 11-2 run to lead 19-5 after the first eight minutes.
The Vikings’ shooting remained red hot in the second quarter as they scored another 23 points compared to 11 from Houghton Lake. The Vikings held a commanding 42-16 lead at the half thanks, in part to a tough press that made it difficult for Houghton Lake to get into its offense.
In the third frame, Grayling outscored Houghton Lake 16-11 and held a 58-27 lead with just eight minutes to play.
Both squads matched each other’s 13 points in the final stanza as Grayling cruised to the District championship and advanced to the MHSAA Regional competition.
Freshman Nathan Shavalia led the Bobcats in scoring with 13 points. Other Bobcats scoring included Kyle Akin with six points, Jared Dull with five points, Kyle Bates, Pat Gaitan and Tyler Sluck with four points each, Kasey Turner with three points and Eric Hurst with one point.
“Nathan Shavalia played solid hitting two big 3-pointers in the first half,” Mead said.
Recording assists for Houghton Lake were Gaitan with four and Kevin Stefankiewcz, Hurst, Dull, Bates and Turner with one each.
Leading the Bobcats in rebounds were Akin and Shavalia with five each. Others pulling down boards included Sluck and Turner with four each, Hurst, Dull, Stefankiewcz and Bates with two each and Gaitan and Michael Ignnat with one each.
Defensively for the Bobcats Turner had two blocks, Shavalia and Sluck had a steal and block each, Stefankiewcz had a block and Dull, Gaitan, Bates and Dakota Kolo each had a steal.
The Vikings had four players score in double digits including Zane Tobin and Tom Burrell with 15 points each, Riley Zigila with 12 points and Steven Enos with 11 points.
“Our seniors said at the beginning of the year one of their goals was to get back to district finals and we did that. I am disappointed that we couldn’t win one for them,” Coach Mead said.
It was the final game for Bobcat seniors Bates, Turner, Akin, Hurst, Gaitan and Dakota Kolo.
“I am thankful and proud of our seniors. They bought into our system and became involved in our entire program - from helping out with our youth program on Saturdays to setting the bar at practice,” Mead said. “These young men set the tone for what we want our future to be. They are tough and play with a tremendous amount of effort and energy.”
Houghton Lake finished with a 6-16 overall record on the season and a 5-9 record in the Jack Pine Conference which placed them in sixth place.
With the victory, Grayling advanced to the MHSAA 16-B regional where they lost to Cadillac in the opening game 75- 45.