HUDSON -- It's not a particularly pleasant thing if you haven't put together multiple wins in a row this late in the season.

As for the Lady Explorers, they're more than happy to finally to have that elusive winning streak.

The host Hudson girls basketball team earned its second consecutive win after posting a 59-50 victory over North Royalton Jan. 21 at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.

With the win, the Lady Explorers, who had not had a multiple-game winning streak prior to Jan. 21, improved to 5-11 overall and 3-6 in the Suburban League National Conference. The Lady Bears fell to 6-9 overall and 3-6 in the conference.

It certainly has been a difficult season for Hudson. The wins have been far and few between and the Lady Explorers have been trying to find a spark throughout the season. While it won't solve all of its problems, the win against North Royalton was a bit of a boost since the Lady Bears defeated the Lady Explorers 46-39 earlier in the season.

"We still have to get better, but it was one of our most complete games," Hudson head coach Dennis Lawler said. "It was an outstanding effort. We really battled on the boards. We made them take shots that we wanted to take and we got the rebounds."

The Lady Explorers stormed out of the gates to a 21-10 lead after one quarter. Sophomore guard Emma Messina, who finished with a team-high 23 points, had 10 points and three 3-pointers in the opening period.

Hudson, which has been using its full-court pressure and trapping to cause all kinds of havoc in recent weeks, pulled away in the third quarter. The Lady Explorers outscored North Royalton 14-7 to take a 47-32 advantage.

Hudson led by as many as 16 (50-34) in the fourth.

Messina made four of the Lady Explorers' six 3-pointers. Junior point guard Elizabeth Hinkle finished with 13 points and senior guard Ava Cristofoli added 12 points for Hudson.

Lawler also praised senior forward Elle Marquez and junior forward Traci Wright for their work behind the scenes.

"Elle and Traci had their best games of the year in the post," Lawler said. "They blocked out and did what they had to do in terms of rebounding."

North Royalton was led by senior guard Gabby White's 23 points. White, who was the Lady Bears' lone player to reach double figures in scoring, recently decided to continue her academic and basketball careers at the United States Military Academy.

"Gabby is a great player," Lawler said. "We just wanted to contain her as best as we could. We knew she was going to get her points. We figured she would get her 15, 20 or 25. We just didn't want anybody else to get that many."

The Lady Explorers' junior varsity team won their fourth straight game.

Hudson improved to 9-6 on the season after posting a 53-14 win. Junior forward Heather Whitacre and freshman guard Audrey Kirkhope-Moss each had 10 points for the Lady Explorers.

Both the varsity and JV squads are scheduled to visit National Conference rival Cuyahoga Falls Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

"It's coming," Lawler said. "We're getting used to how we play and it has helped us continue to get better. We want to play our best basketball of the year during the tournament."


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