Tale of two halves?
When Hudson traveled to Twinsburg for a Suburban League boys hoops match-up Friday, the contest turned out to be the epitome of that cliché.
After falling behind 40-18 at the half, Twinsburg mounted a furious rally, closing the gap to 53-51 with 3:15 to play.
In the end, the Explorers rallied, making 9-of 12 free throws in the final three minutes to hold off the furious comeback and come away with a 64-57 victory.
The Tigers dropped to 6-5, 4-3 in the Suburban League National Conference.
The game may have ended in a rout if it wasn’t for the second half heroics of Twinsburg senior Joey Plantner. Plantner converted on six second-half triples to give him eight on the night and a game-high 32 points.
In a span of just over 10 minutes Plantner outscored everyone on the floor 22-19. That includes Hudson’s five and his four teammates.
"In the first half we came out lackadaisical; not a lot of effort. I think we picked it up a little in the second half," Plantner noted. "We got after them forced them to turn it over and that led to open shots."
Most of those open shots were taken and made by Plantner.
"Even in warm-ups I felt good; then I made my first shot. Then when I made that one in the corner off the backboard (early in the fourth quarter) and I knew I was in the zone. Once they found out I was hitting they did a good job of setting screens and getting me the ball," he added.
"In the second half, he shot the ball really well and was big reason why we were able to come back in the game," Twinsburg coach Paul Schmook said.
Hudson came out on fire, breaking the Tigers full court press and scoring with relative ease thanks to some deft passing.
The Explorers hit five threes in the first quarter as Dave Gentry started the parade giving the visitors a 3-0 lead. Brad McCormick followed with another trey.
The Tigers closed to a 9-8 deficit but Ganaway got into the act making two triples in a personal 8-0 run for the senior guard. Junior teammate Tyler Miller then hit a three.
Plantner then hit his second three of the game to stop an 11-0 Hudson run. The Explorers led 22-11 after one with Ganaway scoring 10 of his team-high 19 points in the frame.
After leading the Tigers with 10 points in the first half, including a pair of three-balls, Plantner started his second half spree when his team fell down by 25 points. Back to back triples got the home crowd excited but it was a long climb still ahead.
Twinsburg chipped away at the deficit switching from their full court press in the first half to a trapping zone in the front-court after the break. After losing the turnover battle 12-7 in the first half the Tigers enjoyed a 4-10 advantage on mistakes in the second half.
Plantner had 13 of his team’s points in the third quarter. Hudson had six.
Early in the fourth Plantner banked in a three from the left corner, lightly kissing the backboard, as Twinsburg continued its assault. They cut the lead to 47-42 with 6:34 left when Ken McElrath put-back his own miss in the paint.
Hudson answered with back-to-back lay-ups by Gentry and Jack Burdett. Painter for a 51-42 lead but Plantner hit treys from the left wing on consecutive trips down the court. After a big Hudson lay-up from reserve guard JD Taylor, McElrath hit his teams eleventh and last three of the night (11-18) to make the score 53-51 with 3:15 to go.
With Hudson in the one-and-one Koscho stepped to the line to stem the tide making both ends with 2:59 to play. The Explorers continued to hit just enough free throws to keep the Tigers at bay.
Ethan Golnick scored the Tigers final six points the last four making it a one possession game; 60-57 with 1:51 left. Golnick had eight points on the evening.
With 1:07 to go Burdett missed badly on the game’s first double-bonus shot but calmed himself and drained the critical second foul shot for a four-point lead and a two-possession game.
Twinsburg went 0-4 from the floor and 0-2 from the line in the final minute.
"We put ourselves in such a big hole that we were just fortunate that we were able to come back … but once we got back we missed free throws and lay-ups," Schmook said. "When we came back; if we make free throws and lay-ups we win the basketball game. We battled all the way through and then miss it in the end."