TWINSBURG -- Although there was little on the line but bragging rights and pride, the Twinsburg boys basketball team can cherish what it accomplished on Valentine's Day.

That's because the Tigers pulled off a stunning comeback.

Host Twinsburg improved to 5-13 overall and 3-9 in the Suburban League National Conference after posting a come-from-behind 49-43 victory over Hudson Feb. 14.

Trailing by 12 points late in the third quarter, the Tigers outscored the Explorers 20-2 the rest of the way.

Hudson (8-11, 3-8) did not score in the final 6 minutes, 37 seconds. In fact, the Explorers didn't take a shot for approximately six minutes, thanks to Twinsburg's pressure.

Hudson committed seven turnovers in a span of 4:33.

"The difference in the fourth quarter was we did two things that we have struggled with on and off," Tigers head coach Phil Schmook said. "We made shots and we rebounded the ball.

"Those are the two things that we did that separated us from losing to winning. We missed a lot of shots throughout the first three quarters, but in the fourth quarter, we made shots and in the last two minutes, we turned them over a few times."

Twinsburg made just 11-of-36 shots, including 2-of-13 from beyond the 3-point arc, in the first three quarters.

In the fourth, the Tigers made both of their 3-point attempts and finished 4-of-8 from the floor. Twinsburg had a 24-22 advantage on the glass.

Besides the turnovers and lack of shooting, the Explorers also missed two front ends of one-and-one situations in the fourth quarter.

"We have to be able to close people out," Hudson head coach Jeff Brink said. "You have to be able to execute your game. You don't do that and that allow teams to make plays. It was a plethora of mistakes."

The Explorers did not trail until the Tigers' late rally.

When Spencer McClure, who finished with a team-high 14 points, scored inside off an assist from Alex Beck, Hudson had a 41-29 advantage with 31 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

The Explorers scored just two more points the rest of the way.

Still, though, Twinsburg did not make easy on itself.

Trailing 43-42, the Tigers lost the ball on three straight possessions.

Senior guard Vince Paolucci gave Twinsburg the lead (45-43) for good with 49 seconds left when he drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key off an assist from senior guard Mike Cusma.

Hudson turned the ball over two more times and the Tigers made 4-of-6 foul shots to put it away.

Cusma led Twinsburg with 14 points and junior Leroy Fitzgerald contributed 8 points.

Prior to the final eight minutes, the Explorers converted 15-of-31 shots and were 7-of-11 from the free throw line.

"It's just disappointing because we have been playing better basketball," Brink said. "We had started to improve and do things that had us going in the right direction. This is definitely a step backward."

Hudson's junior varsity team improved to 14-5 overall and 7-4 in the conference with a 45-38 win. Anthony Chokenea led the Explorers with 11 points.

Hudson posted a 44-38 victory in the freshman game.

The varsity squad was scheduled to host National Conference rival Wadsworth Feb. 17 at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium. Results were not available at press time.

The Explorers are set to visit National Conference foe Nordonia Feb. 21 in Macedonia. Varsity tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Hudson received the eighth seed in the Copley Division I sectional-district tournament. The Explorers are set to entertain ninth-seeded Akron Firestone March 1 at 7 p.m.


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