LANSING | Freshman Gabby Kreykes seemed to be everywhere on the court Wednesday night trying to will short-handed Illiana Christian to a victory.
With multiple players suffering from flu-like conditions, Kreykes stepped up her game by leading all scorers with 24 points to go along with 11 rebounds, five steals and four assists. However, it wasn’t enough as the Vikings fell 49-45 to Fenton.
“I try to get my teammates involved as much as I can,” Kreykes said. “But when they get me the open look, I’m going to take it, and they did that tonight.”
After falling behind 9-0, the Vikings (3-6, 0-3 Metro Suburban Conference) staged a furious comeback to take a two-point lead at halftime.
“We had a couple players out tonight and another playing through the flu,” Illiana coach Dave Bosman said. “I think it took us awhile to adjust and see who was going to step up.”
Defense was the name of the game during the comeback as the Vikings forced five turnovers during a 15-point run to go ahead 28-23.
The Bison (5-2, 2-1 Metro Suburban Conference) battled back and turned what had been a game of big runs into a back-and-forth nail-biter in the second half.
“We can be very inconsistent on defense,” Bosman said. “When we’re consistent, we can play with anybody. When we’re not, we struggle like we did out there tonight.”
Consistency was an issue for the Vikings all evening. After the slow start, the Vikings turned up the defense a notch and were able to get the lead, but in the third quarter they seemed to let up and let the Bison stop their momentum.
The teams exchanged baskets for most of the third quarter, but the Bison were able to slow down the pace and take the lead for good at 34-33 late in the period.
“We seem to play better in an open, up-tempo style,” Bosman said. "They did a good job of getting back and taking away the transition game .When we have to run a half-court offense, we can get very impatient.”
Despite seeing their lead disappear in the second half, the Vikings were able to cut the gap to three, 48-45, with 19 seconds to play but were unable to come up with the tying basket.
“Execution is the key to winning these types of games,” Bosman said. “You have to be able to execute. We only won three games last year, so this team is still learning how to win, how to finish.”