By Greg Gielczyk
LUDINGTON — There was an electric atmosphere crackling through Hawley Gymnasium as a pair of boys’ basketball heavyweights as Cadillac and Ludington met in a non-conference clash Monday night.
Despite an 11-1 record coming in, the Vikings weren’t ranked (but did receive votes) last week. Meanwhile, the Orioles were undefeated at 13-0 and ranked No. 3 in Division 2 by the Associated Press.
Both of which should change when the new rankings come out Tuesday as the Vikings dominated the game after opening the game with a 15-3 run in the first quarter. Cadillac rolled to a lopsided 66-35 victory.
It extended Cadillac’s win streak to six straight.
“We got hammered pretty good,” said Orioles’ coach Thad Shank. “You’ve got to give all the credit in the world to Cadillac. Their defense dominated the game in the first half. It was a 15-1 lead right out of the gate, and we never could recover. They wanted to be able to handle our pressure and make it a grind-it-out, physical affair.
“They did a great job of doing that in the first half. They handle the pressure that we’ve given people trouble with the majority of the season extremely well and got a lot of easy buckets,” Shank said. “We didn’t get much offense from our defense.”
Cadillac outscored the Orioles, 12-8, in the second quarter and took a 27-11 lead into the half.
Any hopes the Orioles might have had of regrouping and getting back into the game were crushed when the Vikings exploded for a 23-9 third-quarter surge that widened their lead to 50-29 heading into the fourth quarter.
Cadillac finished the game with a 16-15 edge in the final period.
“They’re just strong and physical,” Shank said. “They made it their game tonight. It was a game we had trouble playing in. We can’t be a half-court team playing in a half-court basketball game. Hopefully, we learned a lot about ourselves tonight, and we can take some of those things we learned and continue to improve. We have to make the game faster than this game was tonight.
“That’s easier said than done,” Shank said. “Cadillac is big (ranging from 6-foot-1 to 6-foot-6) and strong, and athletic at every position. They’re well-coached. They got the ball in the middle of the floor against our pressure and really punished us. What a performance by them. You just have to take your hats off to them.”
Cadillac has five sophomores on the varsity roster ranging in height from 6-1 to 6-6.
David Shillinger was the only Oriole in double figures with 11 points.
Cadillac had Charlie Howell with a game-high 25 points while Jaden Montague tossed in 15.
Ludington (13-1, 6-0) will host Fremont on Friday.