Fast start leads Stow boys basketball past Hudson
It was still Stow vs. Hudson.
The rivalry was still there when the two boys basketball squads met up Tuesday at Hudson for a Suburban League battle.
On the scoreboard, it was the Bulldogs taking a 47-33 decision.
With the loss, the Explorers have lost six in a row to fall to 2-6 overall and 1-4 in National Conference play. Stow improved to 5-5, 3-3 in the division.
“The whole set up of the league took a lot away from the atmosphere with only one game counting. I think Stow has only two home games on their league schedule. With no fans too but I think the kids still have fun. Our kids know their kids …they grew up playing against them,” Hudson coach Jeff Brink stated. “It’s still the big game but it takes away some of the atmosphere because it’s usually a jam packed crowd.”
The few that were able to attend saw the Bulldogs come out of the gates on fire, led by sophomore Nick Timberlake. Timberlake hit 3 three-pointers in a span of just 1:53 to help his team grab an early advantage. Stow never trailed after Timberlake hit his first triple from the right wing to break a two-all tie.
The Bulldogs were up 11-3 early to set the tone. Stow would hit its shots, making 19-32 from the floor (59 percent), while Hudson continued its 2021 shooting woes by going 12-43 from the field (28%).
“Nick came out on fire …got us a little breathing room. He’s been coming around and doing a nice job for us,” Bulldog coach Dave Close said.
Timberlake ended with a game high 12 points all on threes. Stow was 4-8 from outside the arc.
“You take what the defensive gives you. To me shot selection is one of the most important things you can do …take good shots and we are getting better,” Close said. “Hudson’s pretty good defensively so if you want to shoot quick against them you’re probably not getting a good shot. We had possessions were we were patient worked it around and got a good look.”
Defense was key for Hudson.
“Our defense has been pretty good all year. Unfortunately we didn’t do a good enough job on Timberlake in the first quarter. A couple of them he just made shots that were contested and you have to give him credit for making good plays,” Brink said. “We had a pretty solid defensive effort but you can’t win games scoring in the thirties.”
Down 11-3, Brink looked for a spark subbing in freshman Tino Yli-Junnila. Yli-Junnila had a huge night for the junior varsity and got his first varsity points with a three from the right wing, just 17 seconds after he stepped on the court.
That would be the freshman’s only points and the Explorers struggled again from outside.
“At this point of the season where we have shot the ball so poorly we felt this was an opportunity to get everybody a chance to see how they could perform in a clutch situation,” Brink said.
The mixing up of the line-up is still a work in progress looking for someone to step up and hit shots.
When Whitman and Tyler Miller hit back to back threes to make it 17-16, the Bulldogs responded scoring the final six points of the half.
Two of those came when the Explorers double-teamed Cale Marconi on a side inbound in front of the Stow bench.
Senior guard Jack Costa beat the pressure off of the dribble and hit a pull-up jumper from about 12-feet. That bucket along with a deuce inside from Desmond Copeland and free throws by Deon Horn Jr. and Marvin Campbell opened a 23-16 lead at intermission.
“We kind of screwed that up, but he made a good thing out of a bad thing,” Close said. “He ran to the block so he had to shoot the pull-up but he hit it. He’s got a nice pull-up jumper so that was a big bucket for us …for a little guy (at 5-11) he works his butt off on the boards.
Costa scored 11 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
Stow was 6-7 from the floor in the third quarter, but the Explorers somehow stuck around trailing 36-25 after three.
Timberlake hit his fourth trey on the night while Van Shyjka powered to the basket for two scores in the frame. Campbell also had two blow-by lay-ins in the period. Campbell ended with nine points and four rebounds.
Hudson closes the gap to 38-28 after a three-point play in the paint by senior Dave Gentry. Gentry added a late three to end with 11 points.
Costa closed the door hitting 3-4 from the line in one and one opportunities.“We only had one day to get ready for Hudson," Close said. "Usually Hudson is one of our hardest preps because their match-up zone is so unique. Defensively we really scrapped and adjusted to what they were doing on offense … I’m proud of that.”