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Ludington captures district basketball title in defensive grinder vs. 19-win Reed City

Orioles (18-6) next head to Big Rapids regional where they will face Clare (16-8).

Ludington sophomore Cameron Gunsell, pictured during the Orioles’ football media day in August, also shines on the basketball court. (Courtney Jimison | CatchMark)

Ludington’s boys basketball team has proven this season that it can win playing various styles.

The Orioles have won games by scoring points in the 70s, 80s, and even 100.

Friday night’s Division 2 district final at Manistee required a different style, a defensive grinder, and Ludington proved adept at that, too, with a 41-34 victory over Reed City.

“The game in Manistee was dominated by both teams defenses. Scores were hard to come by,” Ludington coach Thad Shank said.

Ludington (18-6) will pack up that defense and next head to the Big Rapids regional. The Orioles will face Clare (16-8) — a 48-46 overtime winner over Standish-Sterling Friday — in Tuesday’s 7 p.m. regional semifinal.

Against Reed City, the game was tight the entire way. It was tied at 7 following the first quarter, Ludington led 16-14 at halftime, and the Orioles took a 28-25 edge into the fourth.

Ludington sophomore Cameron Gunsell did the job on both ends of the court.

“Cameron Gunsell had a monster night for the Orioles, scoring 14 points and (grabbing) 10 rebounds,” Shank said. “He also held Marcos Ciudad-Real to five points. Real had 24 points in the district semifinals.”

David Shillinger, who is now Mason County’s all-time leading scorer, finished with 13 points for the Orioles.

For Reed City (19-5), Landon Jackson scored 16 points and Spencer Hansen had 12.

In this file photo, Ludington senior David Shillinger poses for a portrait on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023, in Montague, Mich. Shillinger scored a game-high 34 points in a 65-53 victory over Montague and broke the Orioles’ all-time boys scoring record by reaching 1,339 points and counting to pass Mike Larsen (1,336). (Scott DeCamp | CatchMark)

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