Hudson routs struggling Twinsburg boys basketball

Steve Batko
Correspondent
Twinsburg's David Conigilo attempts to block a shot from Hudson's Jagger Pallay during the Tigers' 54-30 loss at Hudson Saturday.
Twinsburg forward Roman Sims fights up a shot during the Tigers' 54-30 loss at Hudson Saturday

While the struggles continue to score points, the youthful Twinsburg boys basketball team also has found some opportunities to discover in a positive way.

A young unit with athletes having increased roles, Twinsburg is shooting under 30-percent as a club from the floor due to its youth and some decision-making.

Fighting to gain some consistency against a strong schedule, the Tigers are still seeking to perform well in the half-court game with athletes moving around, making cuts, and sound ball movement.

Veteran head coach Phil Schmook realizes his club is young and is clinging to obtain some chemistry and consistency in a season littered with adversity.

Offensive flow has been a challenge this season as the Tigers sometimes lack the patience and shot selection as the club needs to be a benefactor more often of ball fakes, screening, and moving without the basketball.

Twinsburg fell to another inconsistent team in the Suburban League National Conference this winter that is accustomed to good results in the program, and is just having a building campaign, mirroring the Tigers.

That club is Hudson.

Ironically, Hudson effectively used many of those missing attributes on offense to best Twinsburg 54-30 Saturday.

Behind strong passing and movement, Hudson was able to rise from a contested battle early on to seize control.

The Explorers (5-10, 2-6) helped to limit Twinsburg to just 13 points in the second half.

“We are just struggling to score points on offense,” stressed Schmook, who has said there have been many of times this season that his players should have passed when they shot and also, that they should have shot when they passed the ball.

That indecisiveness is a sign of youth.

“Our shooting hasn’t been where we would like it to be at this time,” noted Schmook. “Players are giving effort every night.”

Twinsburg had some possessions that were lost early on at Hudson.

Offensively, Twinsburg didn’t take advantage of an influx of seven turnovers by Hudson in the first half at Ray Buck Hyser Gymnasium.

However, Hudson also made back door cuts and moved the basketball around, often making that extra pass to find an open player.

It didn’t help that Twinsburg was without senior wing Trevell Williams, who departed with a knee injury at the end of the first quarter.

Williams, who has been a source of solid decisions on offense this season with a driving, mid-range type of game, never returned to action and his status is unknown as of now, according to Schmook.

Junior point guard Reggie Bussey stepped up and worked hard for the Tigers while sophomore Brennan Hopp provided a spark off of the bench.

Hopp, a battler at 5-foot-10, played in the junior varsity game and also shined in the varsity game.

Besides helping senior P.J. Suggs defend and limit Hudson standout Tyler Miller to just two field goals through three quarters of action, Hopp also buried a 3-pointer.

“Brennan has been working extremely hard in practice and it is always nice to see players improve,” pointed out Schmook.

Although he did have a one-handed breakaway slam dunk just before the first period buzzer sounded, Miller was held in check after he came in averaging 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.4 blocks a game.

Senior post Dante’ Yarbrough snagged a team-high eight rebounds and had a pair of steals for the Tigers.

Guard Mylan McGhaw, a sophomore, also had some strong energy off the bench for Twinsburg.

“As a team, we are showing growth in our ability to compete and defend at a higher level, but we are struggling to score,’ explained Schmook.

“Defensively, we have tried to create some offense through the defense, but we still struggle to score after a turnover,” added Schmook, trying to use his club’s solid speed on defense to present opportunities on offense.

Another sophomore guard for the Tigers – Adam Williams – had a nice drive to the rim for a 6-0 Tiger spurt after the Miller dunk to slice the second quarter lead to 15-13 at the 5:53 mark.

Using strong defensive pressure, Twinsburg then appeared to have forced a 5-second call on the Explorers, but didn’t get the whistle.

From that point on, Hudson went on a devastating 31-6 spurt that essentially ended the game.

Twinsburg (3-11) had its tournament draw Sunday and will compete in the loaded Northeast West District alignment. The Tigers earned the 32nd seed.

The Division I West field has some powerhouse clubs like tops seeds Lakewood St. Edward (11-1 as of the draw), Cleveland St. Ignatius (11-4), Medina (10-3), Shaker Heights (6-2), Garfield Heights (7-3), Bedford (6-1), Brunswick (10-5), and Wooster (12-1).

It’s a deep field as league rivals Brecksville (11-4), North Royalton (11-3), and Wadsworth (11-5) were ranked 11th, 14th, and 16th, respectively.

In first round action in the Northeast 6 sectional-district tournament, Twinsburg will face 24th seed Parma at 7 p.m. on the road in Parma.

Parma has had a solid season at 8-3.

The winner will play a sectional final Feb. 27 against St. Ignatius at 7 p.m.