by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Life has not been too kind to the Hudson girls basketball team in recent weeks.
The Lady Explorers lost five consecutive games and had a losing record for the first time in a number of years.
Recently, Hudson decided to get out of Northeast Ohio and make the trip toward the Columbus area.
And just like that, everything seems to be OK again.
The Lady Explorers snapped their losing streak with two victories at the Pickerington Prep Shootout.
Hudson concluded its trip south with a 50-45 victory over Pickerington Central Jan. 19.
The Lady Explorers also posted a 53-40 win over Ironton Jan. 18. With the victories, Hudson improved to 7-8.
"I thought the weekend was great," Lady Explorers head coach Dennis Lawler said. "We're hoping this trip came up at the right time.
"I think the schedule we've played thus far helped us in these two games. We started to look like the old Hudson team."
Hudson trailed 7-2 early before rallying back to take the lead. Once the Lady Explorers went ahead, they never trailed again.
"We got up seven halfway through the third quarter," Lawler said. "It was no closer than four the rest of the way."
Hudson finished with 23 turnovers. But those ball-handling issues weren't nearly as annoying as they had been in previous games, according to Lawler.
"We had more dead-ball turnovers," he said. "It's not like we were throwing the ball away and they [the opponents] were scoring on the other end."
And the Lady Explorers showed they could hold it together when one of their go-to players was hindered by foul trouble.
Hudson's 6-foot-3 center, Krissy Mummey, picked up her second foul with five minutes left in the first half.
"We never put her back in the rest of the half and we still held the lead," Lawler said. "That was a huge momentum boost."
Jackie Ulmer led the Lady Explorers in scoring with 14 points and Margo Camp finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.
"Margo played the best game she's ever played for us," Lawler said.
"She did everything. She rebounded, hustled, shot the ball well and found open people."
Despite her first-half foul troubles, Mummey finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Ava Cristofoli also had 12 rebounds off the bench.
"Ava played a tremendous game and Nikki Beckham stepped up when Krissy and Maureen Madar got in foul trouble," Lawler said.
The coach also praised his two point guards, Emmy Klemencic and Allison Baylor. Their job was to do everything they could to contain super shooting guard Katrina Williams.
They did just that.
"Emmy and Allison started face-guarding her midway through the second quarter," Lawler said. "Both of them did a tremendous job.
"Two of [Pickerington Central's] guards were averaging 17 points per game. They only scored six points combined in the second half."
Against Ironton, Madar led a balanced scoring attack with nine points.
A total of 11 players scored at least one point for Hudson.
"Everyone did their job when called upon in the last two games," Lawler said.
Mummey led the team with eight rebounds and Madar, Cristofoli, Megan Monsman and Ally Prosser each had six rebounds. Ulmer finished with four steals. The Lady Explorers committed 16 turnovers.
"Ally Prosser made a ton of hustle plays," Lawler said. "She had four offensive rebounds to keep possessions going."
Most importantly of all, the trip allowed the Hudson players and coaches to spend quality time together.
"They hung out and all of us went to dinner together," Lawler said. "I think we were lacking a little of that togetherness. Hopefully, this will spur us forward."
The Lady Explorers are scheduled to host Rocky River Magnificat Jan. 22 before heading to Mentor for a Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division showdown Jan. 28.
Both varsity games are set to begin at 7:30 p.m.