Ludington Ends Historic Season with Loss in Class B Finals
EAST LANSING – The Ludington boys basketball program’s long-awaited return to the state finals came to an end Saturday at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
Appearing in their first state championship game since finishing runner-up to St. Joseph for the 1953 Class B title, the No. 8 Orioles dropped a 45-36 contest to No. 3 New Haven.
The victory was New Haven’s first state championship, as the program was making its inaugural appearance in a title game.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of this basketball team,” Ludington coach Thad Shank said. “You’ve got to give a lot of credit to New Haven. They’re long and athletic… I thought we did everything else well but score today.”
Trailing early Saturday, Ludington (25-3) ended the opening quarter on a 6-0 run to take an 11-7 lead to the second. The Orioles extended that run by another two buckets before New Haven responded with a 16-4 run to end the first half.
Ludington would claw back in the third, cutting the deficit to one at 31-30 after three before New Haven ended the game on a 14-6 spurt.
The 46 points allowed by Ludington was the lowest scoring output by New Haven this season.
Calvin Hackert’s 16 points paced Ludington, while Sam LaDuke tallied 10 points and three rebounds. Noah Laman also had six points and 10 boards.
Romeo Weems led New Haven (27-1) with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds.
Winners of the Lakes 8 Activities Conference, Ludington had won seven straight prior to Saturday’s state final, including a thrilling overtime win in buzzer-beating fashion over River Rouge Friday in a semifinal. Along the way this season, the Orioles twice picked up wins over a sound Big Rapids and rolled past Manistee, Cadillac, Clare, Gladstone and Fenton en route to reaching the Breslin Center, beating those postseason opponents by an average of 25 points a contest.