HUDSON — A loud and boisterous Cuyahoga Falls student section made the drive north to Hudson Friday for a boys basketball game between two Suburban League teams that had been struggling to get wins.
The Black Tigers recently ended a nine-game losing streak dating back to last season and the Explorers had lost two in a row and four of their last five.
Despite the friendly taunts of the Falls’ contingent, Hudson got off the schneid.
As for the Black Tigers, they simply couldn’t buy a bucket.
The host Explorers improved to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the National Conference after cruising to a 52-20 win over Falls, which dropped to 1-6 overall and 0-5 in the conference.
It didn’t start out particularly well for the home team.
Black Tigers point guard Trinny Henderson opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and Hudson had turnovers on its first four possessions.
In fact, the Explorers didn’t convert their first shot until more than three minutes of game action had expired when Brad McCormick drained a 3.
However, McCormick’s bucket was the start of something positive for Hudson. The Explorers found their shooting touch the rest of the way to dominate their rivals to the south. Hudson wound up converting 20 of its first 29 shots.
Meanwhile, Falls missed 29 of its first 33 shots and was down 49-11 after three quarters.
"Three, five and three defensively for the first three quarters," Explorers head coach Jeff Brink said. "You can’t ask for better than that from a defensive standpoint. We needed a win. It had been a tough month of December for us."
McCormick, fresh off his career-high 21-point, five 3-pointer night in a 65-48 loss at Boardman Thursday, got things going for Hudson with back-to back triples in the first quarter and eight of his 12 points.
"Brad got us off to a great start," Brink said. "Our floor game in terms of decision-making in the first half was tremendous. We didn’t take bad shots. We got the ball to the open player and were patient. That was the key to building up a substantial lead [30-8] by the half."
In the second quarter, junior Tyler Miller began to assert himself as the Black Tigers sagged in on his 6-foot-6 teammate, Jack Burdett.
Miller had seven of his game-high 13 points and also had seven rebounds in the period. He finished with 11 rebounds.
"Tyler had probably his best all-around game of his career," Brink said. "He had the points and he dominated on the glass. He had a couple great rebounds where he went over the opposition and ripped the ball down. He has the physical skills and athleticism to dominate on the glass and [Friday] we saw glimpses of exactly what we are looking for."
Burdett finished with nine points for the Explorers. Brennan Guerin, whose uncle Brian led Hudson to the elite eight during the 2004-05 season, led Falls with nine points.
The Explorers were quite as efficient against the undefeated Spartans, who have not lost a regular-season game since a 65-47 setback to Hudson more than a year ago.
Boardman pulled away by outscored the Explorers 32-15 in the third quarter.
Senior Derrick Anderson made 3s on four consecutive trips down the court to help the Spartans pull away from a 26-23 halftime edge.
The 5-11 guard’s spurt took less than two minutes off the clock. Anderson scored 21 of his game-high 28 points in the period.
Boardman also got 21 points from 6-6 senior Ethan Andersen. The Spartain converted 10 of their 18 3-point shots.
"We had a great first half but didn’t capitalize," Brink said. "I like the effort. Brad McCormick was awesome."