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Ludington surges past Clare, sets up regional basketball finals rematch vs. Negaunee

A 17-8 third-quarter advantage is the difference for Orioles, who are in regional finals for 2nd time in 3 years.

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

BIG RAPIDS — If you ask coach Warren Stowe, the ultimate goal for Ludington’s girls basketball team each game of the Orioles’ state tournament run is to get to spend three more hours together the next day in practice.

Ludington earned that, and then some, with a 43-34 victory over Clare in a Division 2 regional semifinal Monday night at Big Rapids High School.

On Tuesday, the Orioles get one hour of film study and two hours of practice. But there’s more.

With Monday’s victory, Ludington (19-7) has earned a road trip to Petoskey and a regional finals rematch with Negaunee (24-1). The Orioles and Miners will square off at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Petoskey High School. Negaunee defeated Petoskey on Monday, 43-29.

Two years ago, Ludington defeated Negaunee, 34-31, in the regional finals en route to a journey to the Division 2 state semifinals at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

Monday’s Ludington-Clare matchup featured two teams with young rosters — more so for the Pioneers.

In the first half, the moment didn’t seem too big for Clare. The Pioneers led the Orioles 7-6 after the first quarter and 14-11 at halftime as junior Kendra Fouts accounted for 10 of her team’s points.

Stowe gave Ludington a spirited halftime talk, according to juniors Jordyn Anderson and Elianna Jeruzal in a postgame interview, and the Orioles went to work in the third quarter. They started to solve Clare’s zone defense, turned up their own “D” in the process, and outscored the Pioneers in the pivotal third, 17-8.

Jeruzal scored seven of her team-high 12 points in the third, while Anderson had five points and junior Peyton Welch four in the quarter as Ludington led 28-22 entering the fourth.

Fouts countered with seven points in the third and eight more in the fourth en route to a game-high 25 for Clare. The junior guard helped the Pioneers wipe out their deficit early in the fourth as they went in front, 30-28, but the Orioles answered and put the game away.

Anderson finished with 10 points for Ludington, as did sophomore Madelyn Kenyon. Welch added seven points for the Orioles.

Freshman Sophia Buzzelli scored six points for Clare, which closed its season with a 19-6 record.

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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