Ludington Falls to Unity Christian in Division 2 Semifinals

EAST LANSING – A surprise run to the MHSAA Division 2 state semifinals came to end for Ludington Friday evening at Michigan State’s Breslin Center.

Making its second state semifinals appearance in three years and first since finishing runner-up in Class B in 2017, Ludington struggled early in falling to honorable mention Hudsonville Unity Christian 69-30. The Crusaders secured a spot in their first state title game since 1973 with the win.

Ludington struggled out of the gate Friday, making just one field goal in the first quarter and trailed 20-4 after the opening eight minutes. The Orioles kept close with the Crusaders in the second but trailed 37-18 at the half and 50-22 after three.

After dropping five of the final six regular season games, the Orioles (14-11) entered the postseason at just 9-10 but posted wins over Reed City (56-44), Cadillac (32-29), Standish-Sterling (50-40), Escanaba (49-32) and Alma (65-32) to reach the Breslin Center.

“Each and every day they came into the gym and they believed what their coaches were telling them and they continued to fight and claw,” Ludington coach Thad Shank said. “I couldn’t be more proud of this group of kids.”

Josh Laman led the Orioles with nine points and three rebounds while Nathan Lange and Sam Bandstra had five points apiece.

Noah Wiswary paced Unity Christian with a game-high 17 points as the Crusaders forced 24 turnovers and shot 59.2 percent (29-of-49) from the floor. Unity Christian also held a 27-20 edge on the glass.

Longtime Unity Christian coach Scott Soodsma has a northern Michigan connection as he led the McBain Northern Michigan Christian boys basketball team to the 1987 Class D state championship with a 56-46 win over Gaylord St. Mary.

Unity Christian (25-2) will now face either No. 4 River Rouge (22-2) or No. 7 Harper Woods Chandler Park (21-0) for the state title at 6:45 p.m. Saturday. The Crusaders are seeking their first state championship after recording Class B runner-up finishes in 1963 and 1973.

Categories: Boys Basketball