by Rob Barrone | Correspondent
Hudson -- "Don't give them any hope."
Those were the last words spoken as the Hudson boys basketball team broke the huddle to begin the second half of its Northeast Ohio Conference crossover contest with Parma Normandy Dec. 11 at Hudson High School's Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
The Explorers took heed to those instructions, expanding on their 34-12 halftime lead and blowing out Normandy 74-31.
Following Hudson's season-opening 67-58 loss to Nordonia, Explorers head coach Jeff Brink believed his senior standout, Zack Brandy, needed some scoring help.
Brandy was the lone Hudson player in double figures in that game with 20 points.
The next time out, four Explorers reached double figures as Hudson (2-1) earned a 68-67 win over Parma.
Next on the checklist for Hudson was closing out its opponent.
That objective was met against the Invaders.
An 18-6 lead after one quarter turned into a 34-12 lead at intermission.
Normandy (1-3) scored first after the break but over the next 5 minutes, 17 seconds, the Explorers went off. Five forced turnovers (25 on the night to just 11 by Hudson) helped ignite a 21-1 run. During that spurt, six different Explorers scored.
"We talk about coming out strong and putting a game away," Hudson head coach Jeff Brink said.
"Every game, we talk about coming out of the locker room strong. We really wanted to work at the defensive end.
"In the first two games, we gave up way too many points.
"We wanted to get back to playing better half-court defense. We scored 74 points without pressing. That's tough to do."
Nothing seemed hard for the Explorers on this night.
Four players reached double figures despite limited playing time as Brink emptied his bench early and often.
Eleven players scored as Sam Wolanske and Jack Sullivan got their first varsity points and Chris Koscho and Alex Albright got their first points of the season. As a team Hudson, shot 67 percent on two-point shots (26-of-39), and made 5-of-16 three-pointers and 7-of-11 from the foul line.
Once again, Steve Boslet led the way.
Fresh off his six-three-pointer, career-high 22-point night at Parma, Boslet came out hot again.
The 6-foot-3 senior hit two triples and a deuce in the first quarter, but his hot start soon earned him and his fellow starters spots on the bench watching the reserves continue the onslaught.
Boslet hit 3-of-4 from outside the arc, totaling a team-high 13 points along with five assists and three steals.
"Steve is playing great basketball for us right now," Brink said. "He's kind of under the radar. Everybody thinks about Zack [Brandy]. He takes a lot of the load off Zack."
As for Brandy, he had just four points by halftime, but Hudson was on top by 20. In the third, Brandy went on a tear, scoring eight in a span of just 2:12 to fuel that 21-1 spurt.
Two old fashioned three-point plays were included in his run.
"That epitomizes what Zack Brandy is about," Brink said. "He's got the mentality -- whatever we have to do to make the team better. He is an unselfish player. We hang our hat on that as a program."
Brandy ended his short stint on the floor with 12 points and team highs in rebounds (six) and assists (five). He was 5-of-7 from the floor.
Joining Boslet and Brandy in double figures were Mitch Guadagni and Ben Gedeon. Guadagni, a 6-2 sophomore, came off the bench to match Boslet for scoring honors with 13 points.
Guadagni was 6-of-7 from the floor and added five rebounds and four steals. Gedeon hit 5-of-7 shots for 10 points and added two steals.
One highlight of the game came in the closing seconds of the first half and was typical of the kind of play the Explorers displayed throughout the evening.
On a set play, in the final seconds, Brandy got a look at a trey from the top of the key but opted to pass off to Boslet.
As the final seconds ticked off, Boslet had a short jumper but spotted Guadagni underneath for an easy layup with one second left.
"That was just good solid basketball," Brink said. "We passed up two decent shots for a great shot. That's good, fundamental basketball."
Hudson was scheduled to make its NOC River Division debut at Brush Dec. 14 in Lyndhurst. Results were not available at press time.
The Explorers are set to visit River Division rival Cuyahoga Falls Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m.