High school boys basketball: Hudson hopeful it's peaking at the right time

Ashley Bastock
Akron Beacon Journal
Hudson's David Gentry dunks for two of his game-high 21 points during a 61-33 win over Twinsburg on Friday night. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

TWINSBURG — Don't look now, but the Hudson boys basketball team might be peaking at the right time.

The Explorers (10-11) have won seven of their past 10 games with a 61-33 victory over Twinsburg on Friday night.

It's a far cry from the 3-8 record they posted to start the year, especially struggling in the early part of January after a month-long COVID-19 pause. 

"One of the things we just talked about is we got off to a rough start after the COVID stoppage and it was definitely something that hurt us, set us back," Hudson coach Jeff Brink said. "I'm so proud of our guys because there's been opportunities where things could have collapsed, it could have become bickering, blaming others, and we never got to that point. There was no scapegoat, it was not pointing fingers. It was let's stay together, what can we do?"

Hudson hasn't had a lot of practice time overall this year between the pauses and trying to fit as many games as possible into its schedule ahead of the postseason.

That's meant Brink and his staff have often been drawing up game plans on whiteboards when they are playing back-to-back nights with limited or no time for practices or walk-throughs.

But recently the Explorers have gotten into more of a rhythm shooting, helping to mitigate some of those less-than-ideal circumstances.

The improved shooting came as a result of the Explorers finding an effective way to get the most out of seniors David Gentry and Tyler Miller, in large part because of a flurry of high-low looks. 

Hudson's Tyler Miller puts up an acrobatic shot over Twinsburg's Dante Yarbrough during the Explorers' 61-33 win Friday night. Miller scored 17 points and had nine rebounds. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

They combined for 38 points against the Tigers, with Gentry dropping a game-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting and Miller adding 17 on 6-of-8 shooting. 

"Over the last couple of weeks, they've been dominant," Brink said. "We made a concerted effort to change our game plan to make sure that those two guys were able to utilize their talents.

"We needed to change and make sure we made a concerted effort to get Tyler and Dave their touches to make sure the offense ran through them. I think when we were able to do that, it actually improved the guard play and improved our shooting. We've been shooting the ball much better ... through those guys, because they draw double teams all the time. They're going to get double-teamed almost every play, [so] we're going to get open shots."

Hudson basketball coach Jeff Brink credits his team's togetherness for turning a 3-8 start into a 10-11 record after a 61-33 win over Twinsburg on Friday night. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

They also are willing to share the ball with one another and, more important, crash the glass. Against Twinsburg, Gentry had five rebounds and Miller had a game-high nine. 

Considering how much work Hudson does on the blocks, Miller said their rebounding has become a major force for their offense.

"A lot of our points come from inside, so if you're rebounding you're right there and you can get easy shots, easy points," Miller said. "If you start getting points, then everyone else starts getting momentum and they'll start hitting shots around you, so I think it's super important."

Gentry and Miller have spent as much time as they can playing together the last four years, whether it's in practice, playing AAU together, or just getting shots up in their spare time.

And with tournament play starting next week, the chemistry that has been years in the making is going to be needed now more than ever.

"We just needed to catch that one spark and one game to get us going because we were shooting so bad," Gentry said. "And I think it was just a span of games where we finally got in to the groove of shooting. But, yeah, it's just carried on and we've been able to continue playing well, and it shows in our record these past 10 at least."