By Dave Hart

MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP – It’s been 24 years since the Orchard View boys basketball team hoisted a district championship trophy.

Now the Cardinals are just one victory away from ending that drought.

Orchard View had a huge second quarter on Wednesday, leading to a 56-41 victory over Fruitport in the Division 2 district semifinals at Orchard View High School.

The Cardinals, now 14-7 on the season, will face the winner of the Oakridge-Spring Lake semifinal on Friday for the district title. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at OV.

“To be in the finals is a major blessing,” said Orchard View Coach Nick Bronsema. “We are just going to give our best effort. We knew that Fruitport was well coached and they were going to play hard.”

The Cardinals were paced by Ke’Ontae Barnes, who scored 20 points, while Edmari Mitchell added 16 and Dietrich Thornton had seven. Thornton’s points were all scored during the fourth quarter.

“Ke’Ontae played with magic tonight and reckless abandon,” said Bronsema. “Edmari also had a good night for us, and he saved his best game for districts.”

The Trojans jumped out to a 12-10 lead after the first quarter, thanks in part to five points from Marcelo Conklin.

But the Cardinals responded with a 19-5 second quarter run to take a 29-17 lead at halftime. Barnes scored seven points for OV in the second frame while Mitchell and Davion Lane added six apiece.

Fruitport trimmed its deficit to as low as eight points with 1:03 left in the third quarter, but trailed heading into the final frame 41-31.

The Trojans continued to fight during the fourth quarter couldn’t get their deficit lower than nine points.

Thornton helped close out the game for the Cardinals, nailing five free throws during the finals few minutes.

The Trojans, who ended their season with a 5-17 record, were paced by Gavin Fisher with 10 points while Luke Mitchell and Cameron Schultz added eight apiece.

“I was proud of the guys for their effort,” said Fruitport Coach Steve Erny. “I thought we finished out the season strong, and we have a feeling we are getting better as a team.”