Boys Varsity Basketball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
MUSKEGON – When Nick Bronsema organized summertime workouts during coronavirus quarantine on the cement basketball courts at Mona Lake Park, he was looking ahead.
Orchard View’s boys basketball coach was thinking about those wintertime months, when the weather is cold and snowy and the Cardinals are trying to make that hard work pay off.
He was thinking about nights like Friday when Orchard View built a 17-point third-quarter lead but had to show resilience in fending off Ludington’s comeback en route to the Cardinals’ 58-51 victory.
“I thought we had a lot of belief in one another,” Bronsema said. “Truthfully, we’ve been working hard for a long time with the same group. Even with quarantine and everything. We were out at Mona Lake Park all summer long working on our skills, and so we believe because of all the hard work that we put in.”
The win allowed Orchard View to improve to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the Lakes 8 Activities Association.
It also marked the Cardinals’ second hard-fought victory over the Orioles (2-2, 1-2) in 11 days. OV won at Ludington, 54-46, in the Jan. 9 season opener.
“They’re a hard team to beat and for us to beat them twice in one year, it shows how much potential we have to go far,” said Orchard View senior leader Ke’Ontae Barnes, who scored a game-high 23 points.
Barnes, a 6-foot guard who paced the Muskegon area in scoring last season at nearly 28 points per game, continued to show all-around growth with six rebounds, five steals, two blocks and an assist.
Fellow Cardinals senior JJ Tunstull, a 6-3 forward, provided an important lift from the wing with 13 points. Senior Larry Brewer III, a 6-5 forward, added nine points, four rebounds and three steals for OV, while 5-7 junior point guard Darius Williams packed the stat sheet like normal with eight points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.
“In the last two years, there’s nobody that’s worked harder than JJ Tunstull,” Bronsema said. “He’s only missed one day of workouts and we do four to five (per week) in the summer, spring, fall. We do four to five a week and he’s only missed one in the last two years and that kid has made a big jump. He deserves it.”
Orchard View led 44-27 before Ludington answered with three straight 3-pointers, a putback and two free throws to pull within four with just under 6 minutes remaining. The Orioles got no closer, although they did keep it interesting.
Freshman point guard David Shillinger impressed with his ability and compete level, as he led Ludington with 19 points, 12 in the second half. Junior Peyton LaCombe, a skilled 6-7 junior, added 14 points before he fouled out with 3:33 left.
Ludington coach Thad Shank was proud of the way his team continued to battle despite the large deficit early in the second half.
“When you get 17 or 18 down to a team like OV, the easiest thing is for it to snowball and people start playing individually because what you’re doing is not really working,” he said. “We didn’t do that, we just got better at what we planned on doing from the start. It gave us an opportunity down the stretch to be in that game.”
Shank was impressed with the way Shillinger held his won against a backcourt duo like one Orchard View presents with Barnes and Williams.
“Those guys, they’re pretty quick and athletic. We didn’t turn the ball over a heck of a lot when the ball was in his hands, and he’s getting into the paint and collapsing their defense and giving us the opportunity to make shots,” Shank said. “So, yeah, what he does is pretty special for a freshman, you know, in his fourth varsity game. He’s not a freshman basketball-wise.”
Ludington made 10 shots inside the 3-point arc and nine beyond it. Shillinger and senior Brad Mesyar (nine points) hit three 3s apiece for the Orioles.
Ludington will be headed back south on Saturday for a matinee on the road against a tough Coopersville squad (2-1). Later in the afternoon, Orchard View will be hosting neighboring rival Oakridge (2-2).
Aside from the tight games against Ludington, OV has posted blowout wins in its other three contests. Barnes is not afraid of a good test, however, such as the one posed by the Orioles Friday.
After all, that’s why the Cardinals put in all of that hard work last summer in the sun and wind, shooting on double-rims.
“Well, those moments we live for – they’re either going to make you or it’s going to break you,” he said. “I told my team when we were out there, I said, ‘This is the time. We live for these moments. We’ve got to go out here, make play after play, and we’re going to take this game home. We’re going to get this dub.’”https://www.mlive.com/highschoolsports/2021/02/orchard-views-outdoor-basketball-workouts-in-june-pay-off-in-february.html