Spring Lake, Ludington ready for Tuesday’s Class B state basketball quarterfinals

LocalSportsJournal.com

The Spring Lake and Ludington boys basketball programs are both familiar with the quarterfinal round of the state tournament.

Now they would like to see what life is like in the Final Four, and perhaps even have a head-to-head matchup for the Class B state championship.

The Lakers and Orioles are the final two local teams standing in the state tournament. Both advanced to Tuesday’s Class B quarterfinals by winning regional championship games last Wednesday.

Spring Lake (19-6) will face Benton Harbor (21-3) at 7 p.m. at Caledonia High School. Ludington (23-2) will face Lake Fenton (19-6) at 7 p.m. at Mount Pleasant High School.

If Spring Lake and Ludington both win their next two games, the two former Lakes 8 Conference rivals would meet in Saturday’s Class B state title game at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center at 6:30 p.m.

A lot would have to go right for both teams for that matchup to occur. But in March Madness, you never know.

Spring Lake advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Grand Rapids Catholic 57-48 in the regional finals last week.

The victory provided a measure of revenge for the Lakers, who lost twice to GR Catholic during the regular season and finished second to the Cougars in the O-K Blue Conference.

The Lakers will have their hands full against Benton Harbor, which has a 21-3 record and was ranked fifth in the state in the last Michigan Associated Press Class B poll.

The winner of the game will advance to the state semifinals on Friday at MSU at 6 p.m. against the winner of the Detroit Osborn-New Haven quarterfinal game.

Spring Lake last played in the quarterfinals in 2015, when it lost to eventual state champion Godwin Heights.

The Lakers were experiencing the same type of season when they made their run in 2015. They were good, but didn’t win their conference in the regular season, and weren’t expected to make it so far in the tournament.

Spring Lake Coach Bill Core says playing in the O-K Blue this year has toughened his team up. The Lakers departed the Lakes 8 following the 2015-16 prep season.

“You look at a team like Wisconsin and they’re saying they were able to upset Villanova (in the NCAA tournament) because playing in the Big Ten prepared them for that kind of opponent,” Core said.

“We feel kind of the same way. Playing in the O-K Blue, with such great competition night in and night out, we feel that we’re prepared for anything that comes our way.”

Ludington earned the right to play in the quarterfinals by beating Gladstone 63-48 last Wednesday in the regional finals.

The Orioles, ranked eighth in the state in the last AP poll, appeared in the state quarterfinals in 2004, 2006 and 2009, but lost each time. They may have a good chance to end that drought this year.

Their opponent, unranked Lake Fenton, is making its first appearance in the state quarterfinals.

The winner will advance to the state semifinals on Friday at 7:50 p.m. against the winner of the Williamston-River Rouge quarterfinal game.

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