WHITEHALL — After trailing at the half, the Ludington boys’ basketball team went to work in the second half and earned a 63-52 victory over the Whitehall Vikings.
The Orioles gained the lead by the end of the third quarter and finished off the West Michigan Conference Lakes Division victory with solid free-throw shooting down the stretch.
Matthew Westhouse stepped up big for the Orioles in the third quarter, scoring 10 points in the period as Ludington took a 47-40 lead. He finished with 15 points.
The Orioles made 10-of-13 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter to ice the win.
“Matthew was the difference maker for us tonight,” said Ludington coach Thad Shank. “He played physically as strong as I’ve seen him. “(Camden Thompson) is strong and athletic, and we had trouble matching up with him. But, they had a hard time matching up with Matthew as well. Those 10 points in the third quarter were huge for us”
Ludington finished the first quarter with a 17-15 edge, but the Vikings rebounded for a 15-12 advantage in the second which gave them a 30-29 edge at the half.
Westhouse helped lead the Orioles to an 18-10 third quarter for their seven-point lead, and then outscored the Vikings, 16-12 in the fourth.
“Our effort level has been off the charts all year long,” Shank said. “It sure didn’t change tonight. I thought we fought really, really hard for 32 minutes. The way we’re trying to play, there’s really no other choice but to play in that manner. If you’re going to play 94 feet, it just takes a lot of effort and a lot of depth. Luckily, we’ve had both of those.
“Being able to go on the road and into their gym, earn a conference win on the road against one of the teams that’s considered to be one of the contenders is a very positive thing for us.”
Besides his 15 points, Westhouse finished with 11 rebounds for the Orioles, while David Shillinger scored 14 and Gage Jones added nine.
Thompson was the Vikings leading scorer with a game-high 20 points. DJ Jamison contributed eight.
Ludington (9-0, 4-0) hosts archrival Manistee in a conference game next Thursday.
Whitehall (4-4, 2-1) travels to Grant on Tuesday for a non-conference matchup.