LUDINGTON — It was a close game from start to finish, but at the finish it was Reeths-Puffer taking a thrilling 63-59 overtime victory Tuesday night over Ludington in the opener of the boys basketball season for both teams.  

The Orioles (0-1) trailed, 21-17 after a high scoring first quarter and were outscored, 9-5 in the second period for a 30-22 deficit at halftime.  

But the Orioles came storming back, outscoring the Rockets, 17-7 in the third and vaulted into a 39-37 lead entering the fourth quarter.  

Reeths-Puffer gained a 20-18 edge in the final period of regulation to tie the game, 57-57 and force overtime. The Rockets had a 6-2 advantage in the extra period to pull out a 63-59 win.  

It was a great start for our program,” said Rockets coach Nathan Aardema.  

David Schillinger, a sophomore, paced the Orioles with 23 points and Peyton LaCombe tossed in 21.  

Travis Ambrose scored 25 points to lead the Rockets on offense. Two other Rockets scored in double figures, with Jaxson Whitaker knocking in 15 and Logan Brooks 11. Coby Mitchelson was one point off with nine.  

“It was a really competitive opening game,” Ludington head coach Thad Shank said. “Reeths-Puffer is a tough matchup for us. They really shoot the ball well from the perimeter.  

“They did a nice job stretching us out defensively, early on in the game especially. We made some decent adjustments, and guarded the 3-point line quite a bit better.”  

Reeths-Puffer made six 3-point shots in the first half, and then the Orioles limited the Rockets to one in the second half.  

“We had chances down the stretch to win the game in regulation, and we just didn’t finish them.”  

The Orioles are home again Friday night when they open the Lakes 8 Activities Conference schedule against West Michigan Christian.