by Rob Barrone
Hudson -- For years, the success of the Stow-Munroe Falls boys basketball team has been predicated on one thing: discipline.
The Bulldogs had plenty of discipline against Hudson boys' basketball team Jan. 26 at Hudson. The Bulldogs' discipline paid off as the visitors converted 17-of-35 shots from the floor to handle Hudson 44-32.
Stow improved to 8-8, 7-4 in the Western Reserve Conference with the win.
The Explorers hoped to control the tempo themselves on this night as they went to a full-court press from the opening tip.
"I was a little surprised with their full court pressure; I had not seen them do that. We didn't prepare for it but I felt pretty good about our handling it because we usually have two point guards on the floor," Stow coach Dave Close said. "It [the press] was, disruptive but our kids were disciplined. We strive every week to get more disciplined. To make sure we are not beating ourselves by making mistakes or settling for bad shots."
Success came early for the Explorers despite Stow's ability to break the pressure. Hudson came out shooting well making 5-7 in the opening frame.
Alex Gedeon scored the game's first points on a lay-in off a pass from Danny Powers. The game then see-sawed with four lead changes in the first period. Michael Rodgers gave the Bulldogs their first lead (4-3) scoring inside off a feed from Paul Racketa.
Hudson answered as Gedeon found Mike Niam for two points in the paint and Colin Geaney, followed with a short baseline jumper.
Stow forced four Hudson turnovers in the second period while committing just one of their own as they took control.
Junior guard Steve Bednar scored three Stow buckets during a 14-3 run that ended with 10 straight Stow points. Renden Peery started the surge with a score in the lane that knotted things up at 12 and Bednar followed with a steal and fast-break lay-in that gave the Bulldogs the lead (14-12). Bednar finished with a game-high 19 points.
Two possessions later, Hudson took the lead back as Bobby Tyler hit his first triple off a pass from Peter Davis. Although turnovers were few, the Explorers' next mistake cost them the lead for good as Bednar scored from underneath just seconds after a Hudson miscue.
A pair of free throws from Kyle Bonacci completed a 10-0 spurt, giving Stow a 24-15 lead. Tyler ended a sluggish second period for Hudson by draining a three from the left wing with one second left to make the score 24-18 at the half.
Hudson's three point shooting carried over into the third quarter as Leach and Gedeon hit one each early in the half. Bednar had answers for each triple, making one of his own between the two Hudson bombs and scoring on a baseline drive after Gedeon's trey.
"They ended the first half with a three and began the second half with threes on two of their first three possessions; that was a little unnerving," Close said. "We settled down on the defensive end. Against a disciplined team like Hudson who really executes their offense, we preach defensive discipline.
"One of our goals was to try to defend the paint. Niam is a very nice post player. He had a very nice game against us last time," Close said. "We also rebounded much better in the second half."
The Explorers' shooting woes continued in the third period after their quick start. Bednar added another trey late in the quarter and an old-fashioned three point play inside Nettey gave the visitors a 39-27 lead with 46.4 second left in the third.
Powers hit his second tripple of the game with 21 seconds left to make the score 39-30.
The Bulldogs kept the lead by forcing Hudson to spread their defense for the entire fourth quarter.
On the defensive end, Stow denied the Explorers any chance, as Peery had two blocks and Nettey had one in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs refused to shoot anything but wide open lay-ups as they took just four shots in the final eight minutes. With three of their first six shots in the period rejected, the Explorers went 0-6 from the field until Leach scored their only two points in a stanza. Bednar sealed the deal late, going 3-4 from the line.
Close had praise for Bednar and Peery, who came off the bench earlier in the season to spark the first win over Hudson.
"Steve is a very sound player. He's not real flashy but he's crafty with the ball. He is very opportunistic," Close said. "Renden Peery had a nice first half but he picked up two quick fouls. In the second half he did a very nice job of rebounding for us. He ended up with eight boards ... that might be a high for him and that's with reduced playing time because of foul trouble."
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