By Justin Haggerty
Local Sports Journal

MUSKEGON – Last season, the Ludington Orioles used a Kalli Wahr three-pointer at the buzzer to tie Reeths-Puffer and send the game into overtime, and they eventually won the game.

On Tuesday night, the Orioles followed a similar script in front of a buzzing crowd at Reeths-Puffer High School.

Kali Wahr floats a shot in the lane as Reeths-Puffer's Brooke Larabee attempts to take the charge. Photo/Jason Goorman

Kali Wahr floats a shot in the lane as Reeths-Puffer’s Brooke Larabee attempts to take the charge. Photo/Jason Goorman

Wahr hit the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving Ludington an exciting 42-39 non-league victory over the Rockets in a battle of two of the better girls basketball teams in the area.

“I kind of just threw it up without being set or anything and it went in surprisingly,” said Wahr, who scored a game-high 21 points. “It didn’t look like a good shot at all.”

Ludington shot 7 of 16 from beyond the arc, with Wahr hitting five of her six attempts, including buzzer beaters at the end of the first and third quarters.

“I thought we really executed against the zone (defense) pretty well in the first half,” said Ludington head coach Thad Shank. “We got some good looks and knocked them down.”

The Rockets were hurt by the absence of standout guard Kalisa Williams, who was out of the lineup with an injury.

Camaryria Williams goes for the steal from Ludington's Madilyn Shank.

Camaryria Williams goes for the steal from Ludington’s Madilyn Shank.

“Losing Kalisa Williams takes about 16 to 20 points out of our lineup,” said R-P head coach Brandon Barry.

Wahr played a key role for the Orioles throughout the contest.

She hit a 3-pointer with five seconds left in the first quarter to put Ludington up by five. Her teammate Olivia Sekenske nailed a triple of her own with five seconds left in the second quarter to give Ludington a 24-15 halftime lead.

Turnovers plagued both teams at the start of the second half. They combined for seven miscues before the first point of the half was scored.

The Rockets clawed back, outscoring the Orioles 13-7 in the third quarter. But Wahr continued her last-second heroics, hitting another three at the buzzer to give Ludingon a 31-28  lead at the end of the third quarter.

Reeths-Puffer led 37-35 late in the fourth quarter, before Ludington’s Claire Flewelling nailed a bucket to tie the game.

The two teams traded baskets to even the score at 39. R-P missed a 3-point attempt with 35 seconds left and the Orioles took possession. The Reeths-Puffer defense stood tall, forcing a missed shot by Ludington, but Wahr pulled down the offensive rebound with 13 seconds left to preserve possession for her team.

Ludington took a time out with eight seconds left, inbounded the ball to Wahr, who hit her winning shot with a hand in her face.

Brooke Larabee led the Rockets with 13 points.