HUDSON — You’re shooting alone in your driveway.
Five, four, three, two, one and you shoot for the win.
That’s a common practice for basketball enthusiasts of all ages. This season, those last-second victories have become commonplace for the Hudson boys basketball team.
The squad notched two more of those rarities this past weekend in a span of less than 24 hours.
Damani Ganaway hit a game-winning shot with four seconds left in the Explorers’ 43-41 win over Suburban League National Conference rival Nordonia Friday at Hugh Griffith Memorial Gymnasium in Macedonia.
On Saturday afternoon, Tyler Miller did the honors when he swished a long 3-pointer as time expired in host Hudson’s thrilling 61-59 overtime victory over Akron East at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
With the wins, the Explorers improved to 9-7. They moved to 6-4 in the National Conference. Hudson also improved to 3-0 in overtime contests.
Nordonia dropped to 5-11, 3-7 with the heartbreaking loss. East is now 8-7 on the year.
Both game-winners were not the first options in the play designs.
On Friday, the Knights (5-11, 3-7) rallied from a late 10-point (26-16) first-half deficit to take a 37-32 lead into the fourth quarter.
Nordonia was looking for its second last-second victory over the Explorers this winter. The Knights won 48-47 at Hudson earlier in the season when Joel Jones hit two free throws with 10.7 seconds left and then swatted away a point-blank shot at the win by the Explorers in the final seconds.
This time, Hudson fought back early in the third with two buckets by Jack Burdett and another from Peyton Koscho. The Explorers were back on top 38-37 with less than four minutes to play.
An Anthony Lee steal led to Jon Henderson’s fast-break score with 1:44 to put Nordonia back on top. Henderson led the Knights with 10 points.
Koscho, who had a career-high 11-point evening, answered with a driving score 22 seconds later to put Hudson on top again 40-39. The 6-foot-3 senior split a pivotal one-and-one foul situation with 44 seconds left for a two-point edge.
"Peyton was fantastic," Hudson head coach Jeff Brink said. "He had a couple pivotal takes to the basket."
Nordonia answered with a pull-up jumper by Josh Malone, just inside the free-throw line. The 6-3 senior’s bucket knotted the score at 41 with 22 seconds left.
With 13.7 ticks left, Brink called timeout to set up the game-winner. Once the Explorers returned to the floor, Ganaway took the from the right wing hard to the basket. His floater went off the glass and into the net.
"That was actually just a good read [by Ganaway]," Brink said. "What we wanted to run broke down and wasn’t there. He had to improvise a little bit. He saw a gap and made a pretty strong take to the rim."
The Knights called timeout with 3.1 ticks left, but a long running 3-point shot at the buzzer was too strong.
Nordonia struggled most of the night from the floor going a combined 8-of-30 in the first, second and fourth quarters. The Knights, thanks to their in-your-face defense all over the court, outscored Hudson 19-6 in the third period.
In the end, Nordonia just couldn’t put the ball in the hole.
The Knights did not score a single point in the first six-plus minutes of the final quarter.
The game in Macedonia ended a seven-game road trip for the Explorers, who have won five of their last six contests.
"That is the longest road trip I’ve ever had in high school basketball in my 30-plus years," Brink said. "We made it through and actually improved."
Jack Burdett led the Explorers with 14 points. David Gentry added 10 points for Hudson.
On Saturday, the Explorers met the Dragons (8-7) for the 10th time in history. After the win, Hudson is 6-4 in those games.
Trailing 59-58 with 1.4 seconds left in overtime, Hudson had the ball at midcourt following a timeout.
Koscho found Miller, who got the pass outside the 3-point arc, turned, squared up and launched a fadeaway jumper.
It found nothing but net even though it didn’t go nearly as planned.
"The play wasn’t [supposed] to run like that," Miller said. "I just got an opening and ran to the ball, got the pass and kind of just heaved it. I did not think that it was going to go in."
"The play design is with multiple options," Brink said. "Basically, we go to the best available option. It’s a catch-and-shoot you don’t have time for anything else. It was good defense. Luckily, he got it off and he was able to knock it down."
Miller ended with a career-high 16 points. All of those buckets took place in the second half. The Explorers trailed 27-21 at halftime.
Prior to Miller’s bucket, Amarian Robinson gave East a 59-58 lead with a 3-pointer. Deshawn Jones led the Dragons with a game-high 24 points.
Burdett finished with 13 points and Gentry contributed 12 points and 12 rebounds. Koscho added eight points and 10 rebounds.
"That’s some exciting basketball," Brink said. "It probably takes some years off my life."