by Rob Barrone | Correspondent
Hudson --When neighboring Northeast Ohio Conference River Division boys basketball rivals Hudson and Twinsburg met Jan. 17 in Twinsburg, points were at a premium.
Both offenses were struggling and the defenses could take at least part of the credit.
The Tigers had problems taking care of the ball against the Explorers' matchup zone.
Meanwhile, Hudson came out shooting ice cold against Twinsburg's tight man coverage.
In the end, the Tigers improved to 6-5 overall and 2-3 in the division after posted a 39-37 victory over the Explorers in overtime.
Hudson, which bounced back with a 56-39 win over Pepper Pike Orange Jan. 18 at Buck Hyser Gymnasium, was 6-5 overall and 1-4 in the River Division as of press time.
Against Twinsburg, the Explorers had a 16-14 lead.
Hudson led despite missing 17 of 23 shots in the first 16 minutes. The Tigers, on the other hand, had 16 turnovers in the first half.
In the second half and overtime, Twinsburg handled the ball much better (ending with 20 miscues). But the Explorers' shooting woes continued.
Hudson made just 13 of 55 shots for the game and was just 9 of 18 from the foul line.
"Our defense was tremendous," Explorers head coach Jeff Brink said. "We did a great job boxing out and kept them [the Tigers] out of transition. We held them under 40 [points]. Defensively, we were perfectly fine. We just didn't finish."
The defenses dug in down the stretch as neither team scored in the final two minutes of regulation play that ended tied at 33-33.
Twinsburg senior Tailin Johnson, who finished with a game-high 16 points, scored five of his team's six points in the overtime period.
Johnson's one-hand floater down the baseline with 37 seconds to play in the extra session gave the Tigers the lead for good (38-37).
Johnson then took a rebound away from Hudson's Mitch Guadagni (nine points) and then split a pair of free throws for the final margin with 12 seconds on the clock.
Kevin Zullo (nine points) did not hit a deep three as time expired.
Despite grabbing 14 offensive rebounds and winning the rebounding battle 34-31, the Explorers only had four second-chance points on the night.
"In the first three quarters, we had 23 missed layups or shots in the paint," Brink said.
"When you're playing an athletic team that's blocking some shots, it's not always easy. But we have to do a better job finishing."
The lead changed hands three times and there was one tie (36-36) in the first 3:04 of the four-minute overtime.
Guadagni converted a free throw to give Hudson its last lead (37-36) with 56.4 seconds left. But Johnson added a runner to give the Tigers the lead (38-37) for good.
Sha-Rondre Nicholson had eight points and 12 rebounds and Christian Strozier added eight points for Twinsburg.
Derek Schwarz led the Explorers with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Schwarz made 6 of 11 shots. Hudson converted just 2 of 15 shots from beyond the three-point arc.
Against Orange (0-10), the Explorers snapped their four-game losing streak.
"We definitely needed to get a win," Brink said. "That was our first in 2014."
Hudson found its shooting touch against the Lions.
The Explorers converted 25 of 50 shots from the floor.
"We were glad we had this game after we let that game slip away [Jan. 17]," Brink said.
"With the performance we had, we wanted to get back out there as soon as possible. Mitch got us off to a good start with a couple beautiful takes. He did a great job attacking the rim."
Guadagni made three layups that led to 13-0 run that gave Hudson an 18-4 lead early in the second quarter.
Guadagni led the Explorers with 12 points. Zullo made a trio of three-pointers on his way to 11 points and Zuccaro added 10 points.
Hudson was scheduled to visit Nordonia, which eliminated the Explorers in a Division I district title game last season, Jan. 21 in Macedonia. Results were not available at press time.
Hudson is set to visit River Division foe Solon Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m.