By Andrew Johnson

CEDAR SPRINGS – Ludington fans haven’t forgotten the magical run their 2016-17 boys basketball team made in the state tournament, advancing all the way to Class B state finals.

Now the Ludington soccer team is following the same script.

The Orioles continued their magical postseason ride with a thrilling 2-1 come-from-behind victory over Grand Rapids South Christian in the Division 3 state semifinals on Wednesday at Cedar Springs High School.

Ludington will now play in the Division 3 state finals against Flint Powers Catholic at either Comstock Park High School or Stoney Creek High School on Saturday.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has yet to designate a site or time for the game.

Ludington’s Lucien Chasse controls the ball at midfield against South Christian’s Josh Langerak. Photo/Jason Goorman

The Orioles earned the right to play for a state championship in dramatic fashion.

With just under four minutes left in regulation and the game tied 1-1, South Christian’s Sam DeVries ripped a shot that was stopped by Ludington goalkeeper Kyle Wendt.

After the save, Ludington counter-attacked when Caleb Schoon passed to Lynn Richard.

Richard sprinted downfield and led teammate Zach Peterson on a 2-on-1 break. Richard got the Sailor goalkeeper to come out of the net before passing to Peterson, who ripped a shot to the back of the net with 3:44 left to give Ludington the winning goal.

“I’m like ‘We’re going to put it in,” said Ludington head coach Kris Anderson on what he was thinking while watching the 2-on-1 break. “Caleb just outran them on the back line and Richard played an incredible ball to Zach, who was wide open.

“He made the run he needed to make, and buried it. That’s what you put all that time and work in for.”

Richard said after the game he never doubted Peterson would score off his pass.

“I was just looking to make a pass,” he said. “Zach was screaming at the top of his lungs that he was open, and I knew he’d be there, and he finished it, which was incredible.”

Zach Peterson finds himself alone with only the goalie to beat to put the Orioles up 2-1 with just over three minutes left in the game. Photo/Jason Goorman

The Ludington crowd erupted as the Orioles grabbed their first and final lead of the game.

“When that ball went in it was probably the best feeling in my whole life,” Peterson said. “When Lynn passed that ball to me I knew I had to put it in. I had faith in us, and as soon as it was passed to me I had no other choice than to put it in.”

The game was scoreless at halftime.

South Christian got on the board first when Tyler Detmer floated a shot under the crossbar to give the Sailors a 1-0 lead with 25:19 left in the second half.

The lead didn’t last long.

With 21:33 left, Schoon took off on a breakaway, made a move to beat the goalkeeper, and netted a goal to tie the game 1-1.

That led to Peterson’s late goal that settled the issue and set the Orioles up to play for a state championship.

“This is a great community thing, coming on the heels of last year’s basketball run,” Anderson said. “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. But we’re good and we create luck from the effort we put in.”

Ludington finished with six shots on goal while South Christian totaled five.

Ludington will return to the state finals for the first time since 2001, and Anderson thinks this could just be the start of something special for his program.

“It means a lot,” the coach said. “We’ve really kind of built our program back up to where it was. It took us some time, but I think this group has started something that’s going to be special.”