By Greg Gielczyk

MANISTEE — Ludington expected a tough battle against Reed City Friday night in the Division 2 district boys basketball championship game, and the Coyotes didn’t disappoint.

Preventing the Orioles from getting out in transition, which is their game, the Coyotes kept the score close until Ludington hit a quick spurt and gained some separation on the way to securing a 41-34 victory. It was Ludington’s first district title since 2021.

“It wasn’t the prettiest high school basketball game. I think both teams knew each other well, and really did their scouting. It was hard to get buckets tonight,” said Ludington coach Shank. “We like to get out in transition and play, and when you can’t get buckets or make shots it’s hard to generate that game speed that you want.

“Give Reed City a lot of credit for their defense transition and their ability half-court to lock down our penetrators a little bit. We had to fight for everything we got tonight,” Shank said.  “I’ve never known a Reed City kid that’s had any quit in him. Reed City kids are hard-nosed, tough kids and we knew they’d continue to come after us.”

Ludington sprinted to an early 7-2 lead, but the Coyotes came back to tie it, 7-7 at the end of the first quarter and set the tempo for the rest of the game.

The Coyotes scored the first three points of the second quarter and eased into a 10-7 lead.

But the Orioles stormed back, hitting a 9-0 run and roared into a 16-10 lead. Cameron Gunsell led the surge with four points, and it began to look like Ludington would roll from there.

It didn’t happen. Reed City shaved the margin to two points, 16-14 at the half and still was within three, 28-25 after three quarters.

Gunsell led the Orioles with 14 points and David Shillinger ended with 13 after being held to just a free throw through the first two quarters.

Ludington (18-6) now faces Clare in the regional semifinal in Big Rapids on Tuesday.

Take a look at photos from the action shot by Joe Washington.