There was a raucous crowd at Cuyahoga Falls High School Tuesday night for the big early season matchup as the Black Tigers played host to the Hudson Explorers.
Both teams had the hot hand early as they seemingly traded shot-for-shot throughout the first quarter. The score was tied at 19 after the first.
Hudson head coach Jeff Brink said he knew they were going to be seeing a tough and confident Black Tiger team, and it was important to weather the early adversity.
Midway through the second quarter, Hudson seemed poised to pull away and build a consistent lead. The teams had been deadlocked up to that point.
“We got into some foul trouble right off the bat, and I think that hurt us,” Brink said. “But we made the adjustments.”
“We tightened up our defense, and we did a nice job on getting through screens and containing them,” Brink said.
A barrage of three-point baskets, accompanied by stifling defense, forced the Black Tigers to commit a string of turnovers to end the quarter. It helped the Explorers build a 42-30 halftime lead behind senior Zack Brandy, who scored a team-high of 24 points, along with four three-pointers in the game.
Cuyahoga Falls head coach Rob Slone said everything started breaking down, especially on defense.
“We had guys not jumping to the ball or even putting pressure on the ball handler so they were able to come off screen wide open,” Slone said.
The Explorers would show their late first half run was definitely no fluke. Behind more three-point field goals, Hudson outscored the Black Tigers 15-7 in the third quarter to lead 57-37 going into the fourth.
Alex Albright was a big reason for the outburst. He came off the bench and made three straight three-point field goals to really put an end to the Black Tigers comeback hopes.
“Our fundamentals were horrendous defensively, and that is on me so I take the blame for that,” Slone said.
Brandy and Albright weren’t the only ones with the hot hand for Hudson. Steven Boslet also chipped in 17 points. He made four three-pointers as well.
“People don’t realize that Steven Boslet has been phenomenal for us all year,” Brink said. “And the other key was the complementary points we got from Albright as well.”
For the Black Tigers, Henry Shaw stepped up and lead the team in scoring with 16, while Joshua Ricker added 12 in the losing effort.
“Our kids are at the point where they believe they are good, but they have to realize it takes more than just thinking it because every team we face will play hard and are well-coached,” Slone said.
Cuyahoga Falls will look to regroup quickly as they will play host to Tallmadge Saturday.
“We just have to get back to the basics and remain focused moving forward,” Slone said.
Hudson will look to continue its momentum as they return home to face Aurora Friday.