Bears hand Hudson boys basketball fifth straight loss

Rob Barrone
Correspondent
Hudson's Aiden Lal puts up a reverse layup against North Royalton's Killian O'Callahan during the Explorers' loss at North Royalton Friday.

After opening the season with two victories, the Hudson boys basketball team went on a one-month break due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Since their return to action Jan. 4 at Nordonia, the shooting woes have continued to plague the squad.

The latest setback came Jan. 22 at North Royalton by a 50-36 count.

It was Hudson's fifth straight loss, dropping it to 2-5, 1-3 in the Suburban League National Conference.

Hudson gave up 18 turnovers with seven of those coming via offensive foul calls.

The Explorers were snake-bitten early and often by those whistles. Just 42 seconds into the game starting point guard Aiden Lal was called for a charge.

In the next four minutes the Explorers picked up three more offensive fouls. Lal and fellow starter, Dave Gentry, were sitting on the bench with two personal fouls less than halfway into the first quarter while the Bears had yet to pick up a foul.

Gentry was in foul trouble all night, as he fouled out with two points and three offensive foul calls.

Hudson's Carter Buzzelli puts up a shot during the Explorers' loss t at North Royalton Friday.

“We are not going to win with Dave Gentry scoring two points. We are not going to win with Dave Gentry on the bench for over half the basketball game,” Hudson coach Jeff Brink said. “With that said. I thought we fought and scrapped defensively. We have to do better offensively. Our better players have to stay on the floor.”

Despite the rash of early turnovers, including a pair of steals by Bears guard Killian O’Callahan, the Explorers only trailed 11-10 at the end of the first quarter.

Tyler Miller drained a pair of three balls late in the period on his way to a team high 16-point, 9-rebound evening.

“Tyler had some big buckets to keep us in there. He had ten points in the first half to keep us in the game, it was a six-point game (24-18) at the half,” Brink noted.

The charge calls seemed to come in bunches and then go-away with no calls on a number of collisions in the paint. Hudson picked up two more offensive fouls in the first two minutes of the second period.

“In 35 years of coaching basketball I have never seen so many charges called in one game …ever. You just have to deal with it and change your style of play. We didn’t adjust well enough to the way they were calling the game,” Brink said.

Early in the second quarter, Gentry took one shoulder to the chest by a North Royalton shooter and didn’t budge. A second push sent Gentry to the floor. There was no whistle at all and the Bears got an easy, uncontested lay-in.

Nineteen seconds later at the other end Gentry tried a similar move and was called for the charge.

Gentry fouled out with 2:53 left in the game with another offensive foul call. Gentry was able to get one charging call on the Bears early in the third quarter.

The, seemingly, inconsistent whistles made a night of sloppy basketball by both teams even uglier.

On the night the Explorers continued right where they have been all year when it comes to three-point shooting percentage making 20% from the outside (4-20). The Bears were worse hitting just 3-19 shoots. The hosts also turned the ball over twelve times.

Defense on the Bears Omar Abuhamdeh in the first half kept Hudson close. The League MVP a year ago was held to two points in the half.

Lal started off the game with tight defense on the senior guard. When Lal picked up two quick offensive fouls Ryan Evans moved over to cover Abuhamdeh.

“Aiden and Ryan did a great job in the first half,” Brink praised. “Omar is a good player you have to find him in transition.”

Abuhamdeh hit for eight points in the third quarter including a pair of triples. The last coming with three seconds to play to open the Bear’s lead to 36-26. Abuhamdeh ended with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Hudson’s Michael Klein opened the third quarter draining a three from the right wing to close the gap to seven (36-29) but the visitors could get no closer.

Leading by nine (42-33) with just over three minutes to play the Bears took the air out of the ball adding eight points via lay-ups in the final minutes.

O’Callahan backed Abuhamdeh’s effort with 12 points for North Royalton while Jad Suleiman added ten points and five boards.

Lal was 3-4 shooting from the floor for six points. Evans was next with four points.

On the night Hudson 11-24 on two-point shots while the Bears hit nearly everything they put up in close making 18-24 shots. Hudson won the rebound battle 26-25