HUDSON — Just another day at the office.
Through 18 games, the Hudson boys basketball team had averaged 53.8 points per game and allowed 50.6 points per game from its opponents.
Funny how math seems to work, huh?
The host Explorers earned their seventh consecutive win after earning a 54-51 victory over Austintown-Fitch Tuesday at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
With the win, Hudson improved to 12-7 and secured a winning season for the 63rd time in 103 years. The Falcons fell to 9-9.
The game also had an average Explorers’ storyline this season.
Hudson held a double-digit lead and almost saw it slip away in the fourth quarter — something that has happened many more times this season than the Explorers would like.
Leading by 13 points (42-29) heading into the fourth quarter, the Explorers couldn’t stop the bleeding as the Falcons chipped away at Hudson’s advantage to cut their deficit to 52-51 with 21.2 seconds remaining.
However, the Explorers continued to dig deep and finished strong.
Dave Gentry converted a pair of free throws to increase Hudson’s advantage to three (54-51) and Fitchs’ Todd Simons’ 3-point attempt went off the rim and into the hands of the Explorers’ Damani Ganaway in the closing seconds.
"In the fourth quarter, we didn’t do a very good job of executing down the stretch and we missed some crucial free throws which let them stay in the game," Brink said. "A positive sign is that in games that we were losing earlier in the year, we are now finding a way to win. That’s a sign of a team that is going in the right direction."
Well, in most ways, at least.
Hudson had some serious issues at a place where defense is outlawed. That would be the free throw line.
The Explorers missed 14 of their 24 foul shots and were 8-of-14 in the final period.
The Falcons didn’t make their freebies either. Fitch missed five of its eight free throws.
Nevertheless, Hudson was in control of the game until the Falcons made their run late in the game.
"It was a pretty good first half," Brink said. "I thought Damani played a great first half [three 3-pointers and 11 points]. Gentry had some big buckets for us [12 points in the first half].
Gentry led Hudson for the night with 17 points, while Ganaway knocked down four triples on his way to 14 points. Jack Burdett ended with nine points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
Simons, who scored 50 points in a game last season, led all scorers with 19 points.
With the win, the Explorers have won nine times in their last 10 outings.
"We love our streak, but we don’t want to focus on it too much," Hudson guard Peyton Koscho said. "We are taking it game by game."
By the way, Koscho finished with six points. In case you’re wondering, he came into the game averaging 5.8 points per game.