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The the first clash of these bordering Northeast Ohio Conference boys basketball rivals Hudson and Twinsburg Jan. 11 was as close as it gets.
Twinsburg edged out the host Explorers 51-47 in overtime and the Explorers haven't lost since.
Fan could have come in to the team's second meeting Feb. 15 at Twinsburg expecting another barn burner, as both team came into the contest tied for the lead in the Northeast Ohio Conference River Division.
What transpired was a nightmare for the Tigers.
Hudson jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead and never looked back in a surprisingly easy 71-48 victory over the Tigers. The win gave Hudson no worse than a share of the River Division.
Twinsburg dropped to 16-5, 6-3 in the River Division.
If the Tigers want to claim a share of the division title, they will need to beat Stow-Munroe Falls Feb. 23 at 2:30 p.m. and hope Hudson slips up in its final division game Feb. 22 at home vs. Solon.
Prior to the loss, Twinsburg pulled out a tight 68-66 win at Cuyahoga Falls Feb. 12.
"We played a bad game. Tonight we settled for jump shots. We are usually a pretty good jump shot team but not tonight," Tiger coach Bob Pacsi said. "[The Explorers] put themselves in a position to get easier looks. They put the shots in; we didn't. We kept settling for jump shots and it just kind of snowballed."
Trailing 47-21 entering the final period the hosts finally begin to make some shots finally, ending an 0-for-14 streak on three-pointers. The Tigers made 6-17 shots in the fourth quarter .
"Our kids realize what's at stake. We had a goal before the year; we want to win the league and we're still playing for that," said Hudson coach Jeff Brink said.
The game at Twinsburg took on a similar start to the first encounter where Hudson also led by double digits early, before the Tigers turned it on in the third quarter. In that game. Twinsburg's pressure defense forced a number of turnovers and led to an 18-6 run that pulled them even late in the quarter as they went on to the overtime win.
Hudson's Zack Brandy led the Explorers with 24 points Brandy got the Explorers off to a fast start going coast to coast for a layup (2-0) after grabbing one of his seven rebounds on the night. His put-back a few minutes later gave Brandy six of Hudson's first eight points in the Explorers' 8-2 start.
While Brandy got Hudson off to a 14-6 first quarter lead he got plenty of help along the way as four Explorers reached double figures along with Steve Boslet (14), Mitch Guadagni (14 and eight rebounds) and John Zuccaro (13).
Boslet, who also grabbed five boards, hit a pair of threes in the second quarter as the lead increased to 27-14 at the half.
The Tigers hopes of repeating their third period comeback effort fizzled quickly after intermission. Hudson made 5-6 shots out of the gates and an 11-1 run made the score 38-15 midway through the period.
The Tigers' Jalen Washington heated up in the fourth quarter scoring 15 of his team high 24 points in the period. Still Hudson answered each score beating the Twinsburg press for lay-ups. Washington was 13-14 for the free throw line for the game.
Hudson held advantages in shooting (52.8 percent to 26.7 percent), rebounding (33-23) and turnovers (13-18). Twinsburg's A.J. Edwards led all rebounders with 11 to go along with his 12 points.
"This was not a typical game [for us]," Pacsi added. "We've shot as high as 40 percent (on threes in a game this year) but that's irrelevant; tonight is tonight. We didn't shoot well tonight. We didn't score off our defense tonight; they did. We didn't hit open looks; they did. Their defense kept us out."
In the game against Cuyahoga Falls, it was senior Cooper Rea who did most of the damage, as he finished with a game-high 23 points, including six three-points. Edwards added 16 points.