by Rob Barrone | Correspondent
Youngstown -- In the zone?
With a total of 65 points on back-to-back nights, Hudson senior Zack Meder has definitely been there.
The 5-foot-10 guard pumped in a career-high 34 points at North Royalton Dec. 11 on the road, but it was not enough as the Explorers fell to the Bears 66-56 in Suburban League National Conference action.
On Dec. 12, Meder picked up where he left off, scoring a game-high 31 points to help Hudson (2-1, 0-1) bounce back from the loss with a 69-33 non-conference win at Youngstown East.
"I have been doing this for thirty years and that is the best back-to-back two-game performance that I have seen by an individual player," 10th-year Hudson coach Jeff Brink said.
"It wasn't just scoring 65 over two games, but he also rebounded and played defense. His work ethic is exemplary."
Meder's 34-point effort at North Royalton (3-1, 1-1) was the most points by an Explorer in Brink's tenure, surpassing Richie Piekarski's 33 points in a double overtime 72-70 win over Cuyahoga Falls nearly six years ago.
It also was the most points scored by a Hudson player since Matt Freedman pumped in 38 in a triple overtime loss (75-73) at Massillon in 2004.
Meder hit 11-of-17 shots from the floor against North Royalton and followed that up with and 11-of-14 effort against the Panthers.
"I feel on top of the world, I guess," Meder said. "The highest I had before was 25 [a 72-58 win at Kent Roosevelt last season], so to pass that up twice is unbelievable. It was a lot of teamwork that helped me to have so much success this weekend."
While Meder was in the zone, the Bears were as well Dec. 11 at least to start the game. The Bears' shooters couldn't miss.
They drained their first nine attempts from the floor.
Four of those baskets were 3-pointers and two more were long twos as North Royalton took a 22-7 lead.
Mitch Filippi (18 points) made five 3s for the Bears in the first quarter for a 25-15 advantage after one period.
"You have got to give them credit," Brink said. "We knew they could shoot the ball. We had a couple blown coverages early and gave them wide-open looks. You just can't do that with guys who have quality shooting skills.
"They got in a rhythm early and we spent the majority of the game trying to claw our way out of a hole."
Hudson made some runs at the Bears, but North Royalton had answers every time.
Meder (5-for-9 shooting from beyond the arc) and Isaac MacGillis (16 points) each hit 3s to close out the first half and cut the deficit to five (34-29).
A Meder steal and fast-break layup made it a one-possession game (34-31), but the Bears ran off nine unanswered points.
The Explorers closed to within five points twice in the fourth quarter but North Royalton converted 14-of-18 free throws in the final frame and 20-of-26 for the night to keep Hudson at bay.
The Bears ended the evening, hitting 8-of-14 3-pointers and 19-of-35 overall.
Hudson won the rebound battle 26-20 with MacGillis leading the way with 7.
"We came out slow [Dec. 11] and gave up 25 points in the first quarter," Meder said. "We really couldn't catch up after that. We put up a good battle. It was disappointing to see us lose.
"So it was good to get a win [Dec. 13] and a pretty comfortable one that allowed us to get other players into the game more."
After getting just five players in the scoring column in the season-opening win over Maple Heights and just four at North Royalton, the bench had a big night at East. In all, 13 players scored as the Explorers ran away with the win.
Trailing 6-3 early, Meder started a 13-0 spurt that gave Hudson a double-digit lead.
Alex Beck, who scored seven of his career high 9 points in the first quarter, hit the go-ahead bucket a minute later with a layup.
Peter Funk got his first points of the year moments later on a drive to an old fashioned three-point play. Another Meder triple and a Beck driving deuce pushed the lead to 16-6.
With the score at 23-17 late in the first half, the Explorers ran off another 16 in a row to take command.
The run that lasted five minutes from the three-minute mark of the second quarter into the third period gave Hudson a 39-17 lead, which coincidentally is the same as the final score over East last season.
In that game, Mitch Guadagni scored 20 points and became the first Explorer to single handily outscore the opponents in 59 years.
Ironically with the score again at 39-17, Zack Meder also had 20 points.
Meder's back-to-back 30-point games are the first since Matt Marinchick scored 32 in a loss at Mayfield and 35 in a win at Kent Roosevelt in 2000.
The last time Hudson had two 30-point games on a weekend was in 1959 when Rick Filson score 45 and 39, respectively, in wins over Nordonia and Revere.
The school record of 46 points by Todd Clark, against Manchester, in 1966 came on the heels of a 27-point effort the previous day.
The Explorers are scheduled to visit National Conference rival Cuyahoga Falls Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m.