- 1 of 1 Photos | View More Photos
Hudson versus Twinsburg boys basketball got off to similar starts during the 2016-17 season.
Each team was also looking for its first Suburban League victory of the campaign.
The Explorers had lost their first three games out of the gates and then were beaten soundly by Glenville and Stow in their last two outings. Hudson came into the home match-up with the neighboring Tigers with a 2-5, 0-3 record. Twinsburg also lost its first three and four straight coming in, to post a 1-7, 0-4 mark.
Somebody would leave the Jan. 6 contest at Hudsons "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium feeling a little better about itself and with a Suburban League National Conference victory. That team would be the Explorers after a 57-49 decision.
Both coaches were happy with the efforts by their players and of course Hudsons Jeff Brink was happier.
"That was definitely our best effort game of the year," Brink said. "Coming off two losses, two brutal thrashings, we needed to go back to the basics. We went back to square one. Tonight, our emphasis was to play with a sense of urgency. That was our theme for the night and I thought we did that."
Tiger coach Phil Schmook also like his teams effort.
"I think we're playing hard. There are minutes that we played that were very good. We just have to those minutes and multiply them," Schmook said. "The game comes down to you have to make defensive plays and stops at key times and you have to make offensive plays. When you have transition lay-ups you have to make the pass to finish it and when you are shooting threes and you are open you have to bang them home. We didn't do that."
It was Twinsburg's sixth straight loss on the court to Hudson.
Despite the lack of combined wins the game was well played on both sides.
It was the Tigers' inability to make shots that led to their demise. Twinsburg shot 38 percent from the floor (19-49 including just 4-23 on three pointers). At the other end of the court the Explorers ended 24-46 for 52 percent, staying away from the three ball where they made only 2-7.
The Explorers got off to fast starts in all four quarters; if the game was a race to nine points the hosts won all four periods outscoring Twinsburg by a combined 36-12 in the opening minutes of the frames.
Hudson broke away from an early 3-3 deadlock hitting three straight shots in the paint, by Spencer McClure, Adam Mehelic and Alex Beck, to reach the nine points at 9-3. The lead inched up to 15-8 after one.
The second period started out with another 9-3 spurt. McClure, who matched his season high with a team high 13 points, started the frame with a put-back and one; three-point play. Freshman Jack Burdett finished the run with a pair of lay-ins. The 6-5 post ended with those four points. The hosts lead was now 24-11.
Twinsburg stormed back. The visitors forced Hudson into five turnovers and two missed shots over the final four minutes of the first half. The Tigers parlayed the defensive stops into a 10-0 spurt.
Mike Cusma (eight points) got things started with an old fashioned three-point play in the paint. Freshman Dayvon Adams, who scored 11 of his game high 14 points in the final 2:15 of the game, followed with a lay-up. Freshman Kenny McElrath (six points) added a rebound score and Michael Moore (11 points) drained a three with two seconds left to close the gap to 24-21 at the half.
"We finished the first half pretty strong. We went on a 10-0 run," Schmook said. "A lot of that had to do with Hudson not making plays. They were turning the ball over (thanks to strong Twinsburg defensive pressure). We were fortunate to make some plays but even in that 10-0 run we missed some lay-ups."
The Explorers actually blocked three Tiger shots in that spurt or it could have been a bigger streak. Senior Jackson Parker blocked two of those shots and had four on the night. The 6-5 post pumped in 12 points on 6-10 shooting. He added nine rebounds to lead the Explorers to a 29-17 advantage on the glass.
Hudson outscored the Tigers 11-4 in those first four minutes of the second half.
Parker made a big impact on the game in that pivotal third quarter scoring eight points in the frame.
After Twinsburg closed to within one (24-23) on a bucket by McElrath, Greg Mailey hit a three from the corner off a pass from Parker. Parker then scored the next two baskets to widen the lead again.
The Tigers made it a one-possession game (35-32) again late in the third, but Parker scored on a reverse lay-up and a two-handed dunk on a drive down the lane to help the hosts build a 41-33 lead heading into the final frame.
"Jackson Parker stepped up with Adam [Mehelic] down [due to a mild ankle sprain] and played extended minutes. He had a huge second half for us," Brink praised.
Mailey (ten points) opened the fourth with his second triple then Parker and Beck added deuces to give Hudson a commanding edge. The lead ballooned to 55-39 late. Adams scored the Tigers final eleven points in the last 2:15. He scored the game's final six points in the closing 51 seconds for the 57-48 final.
Twinsburg will play at Nordonia Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m.