COPLEY: Basketball coaches often have a pregame conversation on the court while their respective teams warm up before tip-off.
Hudson coach Jeff Brink and Stow coach Dave Close chatted about their teams and discussed that the first team to score 30 points might be the winner Thursday night in a Division I district semifinal game.
Hudson was the first team to score 30 points, and the Explorers also left Copley High School with a 47-27 victory.
Hudson (20-4) advances to play Nordonia in a district final at 7 p.m. Saturday. Stow concludes its season with a 12-13 record.
“We have the utmost respect for Coach Close and obviously the Stow squad,” Brink said. “It is one where it is a backyard brawl and both teams know what the other team is going to do. We were talking before the game and Dave is like ‘Well, we know what you are going to do and you know what we are going to do, so it comes down to whoever scores 30 first might win the game.’ I was like ‘You know what, that might be true,’ and it ended up being true.”
Senior Steven Boslet led the Explorers with 17 points, two assists and one block. Boslet, a 6-foot-3 guard, made 4-of-5 shots from 3-point range.
“I felt it in warm-ups,” Boslet said. I was feeling it and they kept giving me the ball, which was great. Coach Brink said I had the hot hand, so they ran some plays for me. I just kept shooting. Everyone was getting me open by setting screens for me.”
Boslet converted a tip-in on Feb. 12 to lift host Hudson over Stow 39-37 in triple overtime.
“Obviously they are our rival,” Boslet said. “It feels good to get this win.”
Stow led 10-8 after one quarter, but Hudson rallied to hold a 16-15 edge at halftime.
The Explorers outscored the Bulldogs 12-3 in the third quarter and 19-9 in the fourth quarter.
“I thought our defense in the third quarter was phenomenal,” Brink said. “Our defense all year has been great. Offensively, Steven Boslet picked us up.”
Hudson hit Stow with a 10-0 run to open the third quarter. Close said Hudson gained momentum toward the end of the second quarter and kept it for the opening three minutes of the third quarter to take control of the game.
“Hudson is a very good basketball team,” Close said. “They have won 13 games in a row. Of course they have got [6-foot senior guard Zack] Brandy, the MVP of the league [the Northeast Ohio Conference], but those kids around him have been together for a long time. They know their roles and they execute their stuff relentlessly. Those monsters [6-3 senior Ben Gedeon, 6-2 senior Alex Mushock] set some unbelievable screens, and they have guys who made jump shots tonight.”
Junior Matt Beech, a 6-1 forward, paced Stow with 21 points and six rebounds.
The Bulldogs struggled shooting, making 8-of-34 from the field. The Explorers made 15-of-34 from the field.
“These kids bring their lunch pails and go to work every day,” Close said. “I love them for that. They have been a blast to coach.”
Brink credited Brandy for being unselfish Thursday. Brandy finished with four points, four assists and four rebounds.
Junior guard John Zuccaro scored eight points for Hudson. Gedeon added seven points and five rebounds. Mushock totaled four points and six rebounds.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.