By Greg Gielczyk

MANISTEE — Ludington actually fell behind early, but recovered quickly and took off in the second quarter to pull away from Manistee for a 76-39 victory Friday night at Manistee in the Lakes 8 Activities Conference.

It was the Orioles’ second straight win after a loss to Cadillac at home, and kept them solidly in first place in the conference as the stretch run approaches.

“I thought we came out a little bit early maybe shooting the shot Manistee gave us, instead of maybe the one we wanted. We seemed almost over-aggressive.

“We like to play an aggressive style, and we like to come after you. But, you can’t reach and trap on every pass. We did a little bit of that early on.

“But, I thought as time went on we shared the ball a heck of a lot better, our defense got us a lot of opportunities to get out in transition like we like to play. That momentum was a fun thing to watch.”

Manistee stayed close through the first quarter, tying the score twice at 6-6 and 10-10 before the Orioles went on a 10-2 run for a 17-12 lead at the end of the stanza.

The Chippewas wouldn’t go away, keeping the margin at a reachable 10 points, 25-15 midway through the second quarter. But that would be as close as they would come to the Orioles the rest of the way.

Ludington ripped off a 17-0 run that included a 3-point bomb from David Shillinger that pretty much salted the game away for the Orioles.

It sent the Orioles out to a huge 42-18 lead, and they took the floor for the fourth quarter with a 45-18 cushion and that grew to 68-23 after three.

“We are blessed with depth, and I can reach to my bench and play different ways,” Shank said. “It’s a good position, really, for a coach to be in, to have the depth that we have and be able to do things in different manners depending on who your opponent is.

“The thing that was big to me tonight in that first half was our offensive rebounding. We really hammered the offensive glass. Rebounding wins championships, and that (rebounding) is something we haven’t done necessarily great all year long. So, that’s a good sign for us.”

Peyton LaCombe, the Orioles’ 6-foot-6 senior pivot, fired in 28 points, including two monster two-handed dunks, to lead the Orioles. Shillinger knocked down two 3-point shots and finished with 14. Matthew Westhouse added eight and Aiden Gilchrist six.Ludington improved to 8-5 overall and maintained its lead in the conference with a 7-1 mark. The Orioles are next scheduled to see action Tuesday, Feb. 8 at Traverse City West in a non-conference game.