Josh Laman's 3-pointer at the buzzer gives Ludington OT win over River Rouge in Class B Semifinal
East Lansing – Ludington’s Josh Laman was 0-for-9 on his 3-point attempts for the season heading into Friday night’s Class B semifinal, but the sophomore forward found the perfect time to make his first of the season.
With Ludington trailing River Rouge by two in the closing seconds of overtime, Laman took a pass from his older brother, Noah Laman and knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner as time expired to give Ludington a 51-50 win, sending the Orioles into the Class B state final for the first time since 1953.
In the Class B Final, Ludington (25-2) will face New Haven, who beat Benton Harbor on Friday evening, on Saturday at 7:50pm at the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University.
Ludington coach Thad Shank said that while Laman likes shooting from the perimeter, he’s usually down the line when it comes to his team’s options to shoot the ball.
“He likes to shoot it, but coach kind of gives him a cross-eyed look on occasion,” he said. “He’s a kid who works hard on his game, he can play inside and out, but we have a lot of kids who can shoot the ball, so he’s like our sixth or seventh option to shoot it.
“He’s thinking that when I get back in that locker room, he’s going to look coach Shank in the eye and say ‘I told you coach, I should be shooting these three’s all year long’ is what he’s thinking.”
After Ludington Ludington closed out regulation on a 9-0 run, led by seven points from Calvin Hackert, who knocked down two 3-pointers during that stretch, the Orioles again found themselves facing a late deficit in overtime.
Darian Owens-White knocked down four free throws and a Delante Peterson basket gave the River Rouge a 49-44 lead with 1:13 left to play.
Owens-White finished with 19 points to lead River Rouge (24-2) in the loss.
"Great game, both teams played with a lot of heart, a lot of determination from the beginning," River Rouge coach Mark White said. "From how we played this season, Ludington deserved to win the game a little bit more than we did today. This is March, so it can go either way, but sometimes the factor of determination and will to win, how much you're willing to give makes the difference."
Ludington would respond once again, using a pair of free throws from Josh Laman and a basket from Josiah Bandstra with 32.1 seconds remaining to cut the deficit down to 50-38.
Ludington’s defensive pressure would force a River Rouge turnover to get the ball back and after River Rouge's Dan Few blocked a potential game-tying shot with 15 seconds remaining, the Orioles would use the rest of the remaining time on the clock leading up to Laman’s game-winner.
Shank said during both of his team’s comebacks, he reassured his players that there was still plenty of time left to play in Friday’s game, and also credited his team’s defensive pressure for forcing key turnovers that led to the win.
“A couple of times, I told them if on November 15th and we walked into this gym in the state semifinal and we were down four or five against River Rouge and I told you that was the case, would you take it?” he said. “We’ve got to keep our heads up and keep fighting and there’s still time on that clock and a lot of things can happen. We are a pressure defensive team, we have a lot of respect for River Rouge and their quickness, we haven’t played a team with that level of quickness to this point, so we didn’t really aggressively go after River Rouge like we do most teams. But the fact that’s part of our package I think was huge down the stretch of the game because that’s what we’re comfortable doing.”
Ludington was led by a game-high 20 points from Hackert, while Josh Laman finished with 11 points.