By Jason Millis

MUSKEGON – Coming off their first loss of the season, the Ludington girls basketball team came out focused to get back in the win column Friday night.

The Orioles played intense and aggressive defense to stifle Lakes 8 conference rival Muskegon Catholic Central on their way to a 54-22 win.

Ludington’s Karli Meysar hustles back after scoring two points. Photos/Tim Reilly

Ludington has locked down its opponents with tight defense all season, and Friday was no different. The Orioles held the Crusaders to just four points in the second quarter and zero in the fourth.

“We try to hang a hat on (defense) all year,” said Ludington coach Warren Stowe. “Those girls we have on our side are tenacious, starting with Hailey Stowe and Abby Bandstra. They’re quick, they’re long, and they’re super intelligent. That’s the key to our success.”

Ludington carried the aggression over to the offensive side of the ball as well. Forwards Ryann Rohrer, Olivia Lynn and Keelyn Laird all scored in the double digits, putting up 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively, with a lot of help from the other girls.

“All year (they) have been playing exceptionally well, especially when we see zone like we saw tonight,” Coach Stowe explained. “They do a really good job finding open spots and seeing each other and passing. Our guards did a really good job of finding those three, and they probably passed open a lot of shots they normally would have taken because they saw those girls (getting open).”

The aggressive play did get Ludington into a bit of trouble on the court, with several players racking up fouls. The Orioles were whistled for six straight fouls before the Crusaders were called for one and ended up doubling their rival’s tally.

Coach Stowe said the fouls were not much to his concern. 

“We play aggressive, I give them the freedom to play aggressive, and we stress moving our feet and playing with our hands,” he said “Tonight the refs might have thought we weren’t doing that as well as we could. We play aggressive, we try to play up-tempo, and that’s what comes with it.”

Claire LaVigne led the Crusaders with six points on a pair of three-pointers, while Grace Staniforth and McKenna Gentry both had four. 

With the win, Ludington remains undefeated in the Lakes 8 conference, improving to 5-0. The Orioles are 8-1 overall. MCC drops to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in conference play.