Division 2 state semifinal: Unity Christian-Ludington

High School Preps

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Unity Christian has already won MHSAA Division 2 state titles in boys’ soccer and football this school year.

The Crusaders will have the opportunity to complete the rare trifecta.

Unity dismantled Ludington 69-30 Friday night in a Division 2 state semifinal at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

The Crusaders (25-2) will face River Rouge on Saturday at 6:45 p.m. in the state title game.

River Rouge defeated Harper Woods Chandler Park 72-66 in overtime.

“We’ve been talking about it aggressively the last couple weeks because we really want to get there,” Unity coach Scott Soodsma said. “These kids are winners. They won a soccer championship and a football championship so they know what it’s like to get there and the experience and the feeling of it. They definitely want to get it.”

Senior point guard Noah Wiswary led the Crusaders with 17 points, including three 3-pointers, on six of eight shooting from the field as Unity stormed out to a 20-4 lead in the first quarter.

“We knew the first four minutes would be big and we came out with a lot of energy,” Wiswary said. “As a kid, you dream of these moments and (Saturday) is going to be fun. We have 32 minutes left in our high school careers and we’re going to do everything we can to get the win.”

Unity senior TJ VanKoevering, who filled the state sheet with eight points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots, was a key member of Unity’s football team that claimed the first title in program history in November.

“This has been a ton of fun and you get it do things a lot of high schoolers dream of doing and I’m doing it twice,” VanKoevering said. “I’m playing for a state championship (Saturday) and I played for a state championship in football. It’s cool to be in that situation.”

A 7-0 run by the Orioles in the second quarter trimmed the Crusaders’ lead to 23-11, however, back-to-back baskets in the lane by Wiswary pushed the lead back up 27-11.

Unity led 37-18 at halftime.

“We came out with a lot of intensity and I thought we really got after them right off the bat,” Soodsma said. “I think we wore them down with the pace of the game and I was proud of the effort of our guys tonight.”

Unity didn’t let up in the second half and continued to pour it on as the lead swelled to 50-22 after three quarters.

The Crusaders shot a blazing 72 percent from the field in the first half and 59 percent for the game while knocking down eight of 13 3-pointers.

Twelve different players scored for Unity in the rout.

“We share the ball, and look how many kids got in the box score tonight,” Soodsma said. “They give up the basketball and we have a lot of kids that can put it up and shoot it.”

Unity won its 21st straight game while ending the incredible postseason run by Ludington. The Orioles entered the state tournament with a 9-10 overall record.

“I don’t think anybody cared about their record,” VanKoevering said. “We just knew we had to go out there and beat them and obviously, they were good enough to be in the state semifinals.”

The Crusaders played in the state semifinals for the first time since 1973.  

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