By Greg Gielczyk
LUDINGTON — Breaking away from a tie game at the half, the Ludington boys basketball team gained separation from Traverse City West in the third quarter and then weathered a fourth quarter rally by the Titans.
In the end, the Orioles claimed a 60-53 non-conference win Monday night at home.
It was the Orioles’ third straight win to start the season.
The Orioles struggled to score in the first half and trailed 14-11 at the end of the first quarter. They scrapped their way back to outscore the Titans, 12-9 in the second stanza and went into the half in at 23-all.
Matthew Westhouse, the Orioles’ 6-10 center, kept them in the ballgame with 11 first-half points.
Ludington pushed out to a 15-point lead midway through the third quarter and the Titans (1-2) chipped away at that lead the rest of the way, but the Orioles held on.
The Orioles doubled up on the Titans in the third quarter, 18-9, and forged a nine-point lead, 41-32, entering the fourth quarter. Ludington was outscored 21-19 in the final period.
“It was a good ball game,” said Ludington coach Thad Shank. “We struggled to score in the first half. Give a lot of credit to Traverse City West. “They’re well coached, a good defensive team. In the second half I really thought our defense really took over. We had a few little runs in that early third, and early in the fourth that 15-point lead.
“Pressure wears on you sometimes, and I thought it wore down Traverse City West a little bit in that second half.”
Westhouse finished with 19 points to lead all scorers for the Orioles, followed by Gage Jones with 14 and David Shillinger added nine.
Lincoln Lockhart was the Titans’ leading scorer with 15 points and Quentin Gillespie contributed 12.
Ludington (3-0) resumes West Michigan Conference Lakes Division play Thursday night at Oakridge.