HUDSON — In the first-ever meeting on the hard court between the two schools, the Canfield boys basketball team spoiled Hudson’s Holiday Classic party, rallying from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to take the championship with a 58-56 victory.
The contest took place Saturday at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium. The Explorers dropped to 2-4 with the loss, while the Cardinals improved to 6-2 and earned head coach Todd Muckleroy his 200th career win.
Canfield, from Mahoning County, trailed 52-38 with 6 minutes, 30 seconds left to play, but the Cardinals forced seven turnovers down the stretch to claw back in the game.
Down 56-54, Canfield got what would be the game-winning basket when junior Trey Dye swished a 3-pointer from the right wing with 26 seconds left.
On the ensuing Hudson possession, the Explorers couldn’t get the shot they wanted and a late 3 was off target. Brayden Beck rebounded the missed shot for the Cardinals and was fouled with 0.9 left. He made the first for the 58-56 final. Beck led four Canfield scorers with 15 points while Dye added seven.
The loss spoiled a great night for Hudson senior post Jack Burdett. With game-highs in points with 25 and rebounds with 10, Burdett was named the tournament MVP. He is the first MVP in eight years of the event to come from the second-place team. He also contributed a team-high six assists.
"Jack had a solid game on Friday [a 57-53 overtime win over Streetsboro], but I thought he was dominant [Saturday]," Explorers head coach Jeff Brink said. "Look at all aspects: handling the ball, distributing the ball, breaking pressure, dominant on the glass, going to the rim. It was a stellar performance for him. To get the MVP in a tournament when you don’t get the championship says something about the performance he had."
Teammates Brad McCormick and Damani Ganaway were chosen for the all-tournament team. The Cardinals had Beck and Brent Herrmann on the team. Streetsboro, which won the consolation game 53-45 over Youngstown East, had junior Zamar Harris while East had Xavion Leonard on the squad.
Hudson (6-0) won the junior varsity championship with a 40-28 win over Youngstown East. The previous night, the Explorers handled Streetsboro by a 54-43 score.
On Friday, Hudson’s varsity squad nearly let a win get away after surrendering a 10-point lead (48-38) against the Rockets with less than five minutes left. Just when a fourth straight loss seemed unavoidable, the game fell back into the Explorers’ hands.
Holding a 52-50 lead with 3.1 seconds on the clock, Streetsboro took the ball inbounds in front of the Hudson student section. Getting the ball to guard Zamar Harris was the smart play. Harris led all scorers with 28 points and had just rallied his team by making all eight of his attempts at the free throw line in the fourth quarter. He finished 10-of-10 for the evening.
As the ball came into Harris near the Explorers’ baseline, he fell backwards and was unable to control the ball. Alertly, David Gentry scooped up the ball underneath Hudson’s backboard and went up for a reverse layup that beat the buzzer to force overtime. Gentry played the game on a tweaked ankle and had to sit out Saturday’s championship game.
In the overtime period, neither team would make a field goal. The Explorers took the lead for good 54-52 with 3:03 left when Damani Ganaway was fouled on a drive to the hoop. The senior hit both foul shots. At the other end, Bryce Vecchio scored the last of his 11 points on the night splitting a pair of freebies to make the score 54-53 with 1:50 left in the four-minute extra session.
After two trips to the charity stripe by Burdett netted just one point, the game was still in doubt at 55-53. The Rockets called time-out with 23.9 on the clock and when play resumed, they looked to Harris, who had already drained six 3-pointers. His jumper from the right wing was off target and Ganaway fought through traffic to get the rebound. He was fouled and with 5.8 ticks to go, the senior sealed the win, making two more at the line. Ganaway ended with 11 points, including 8-of-8 from the line.
The loss was the first for Streetsboro after a 6-0 start.
"We’ve lost games that we probably deserved to win," Brink said. "The bottom line is, you’ve got to find a way to win. You have to dig down deep and find a way to win. Sometimes you get breaks. We were fortunate to make a play at the end of the game to get it into overtime and then Damani made a couple of key free throws in the overtime."