Menendez leads Hudson girls basketball past Bears

Roger Gordon
Hudson's Ali Menendez works under the basket against North Royalton's Jenna Kotlyn during the Explorers' 47-30 win Wednesday at North Royalton. Menedez led all scorers with 22 points.

Ali Menendez’s proper preparation resulted in a stellar performance in the Hudson girls basketball team’s 47-30 victory Wednesday at Suburban League National Conference rival North Royalton.

The junior guard poured in 22 points, including a pair of three-point shots.

“The work that Ali has put in during practice really helped,” Explorers head coach Dennis Lawler said. “She had a few steals that led out to layups, and we got a couple other steals where she leaked out and was able to finish around the basket. She had a couple real nice driving layups, too, when we were in our offensive set. She was really active on defense also.”

Hudson led 11-8 after one quarter, 22-12 at halftime and 37-28 after three quarters.

“We got up early and slowly pulled away,” said Lawler. “North Royalton had a good third quarter, but our defensive effort was good. We forced a lot of turnovers and got some good transition baskets. We also finished around the basket.”

Hudson improved to 7-5 overall and 3-2 in the National Conference.

Junior forward Constance Loring scored nine points, including a three-pointer.

“Constance really rebounded the ball well,” Lawler said. “She and Kate Orazen, our senior center, really controlled the rebounding. They were our two leading rebounders. Constance is also our best shooter from the field. She’s been working hard on that.”

Hudson began the week with a heartbreaking 53-52 loss to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown Jan. 23 in a game played at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike.

The Explorers led 17-12 after the first quarter and 31-26 at the half. The Trailblazers, though, outscored the visitors 15-7 in the third quarter to forge ahead 41-38.

“We missed a few assignments late on defense, but I thought our defensive effort was pretty good overall,” said the coach.

Junior point guard Paige Albrecht hit a three-pointer to put Hudson up 52-51 with 15 seconds to go in the game.

“We then fouled one of Hathaway Brown’s girls, and she made the first free throw to tie the score but missed the second,” Lawler said. “They got the rebound, and they ended up getting another shot that missed with 2.7 seconds left, but there was a foul called on us. Their girl missed the first free throw but made the second. We didn’t get a shot off.

“It was a good game. Both teams played hard, both teams left it all out on the court.”

Loring scored 13 points and had eight rebounds. Menendez scored 12 points, and junior forward Delaney DiGeronimo had 11 points.

“Constance shot the ball well and was the defensive leader for us,” said Lawler. “We’ve been working hard in practice with Ali on finishing around the basket. She’s been shooting the ball well lately.”

Hudson was scheduled to host National Conference rival Cuyahoga Falls Saturday at 7 p.m. before traveling to conference rival Stow-Munroe Falls Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The Explorers are set to host Boardman Thursday at 7 p.m. before traveling to conference foe Twinsburg Feb. 6 at 2:30 p.m.