by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Hudson -- His team had an abundance of energy, a nifty shooting touch and a knack for stealing the ball in the first 16 minutes.
The second half?
Maybe it might be better to appreciate the first half.
The host Hudson girls basketball team won its third consecutive game after posting a lopsided 67-35 victory over Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division rival Shaker Heights Dec. 12 at Hudson High School's Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
With the win, the Lady Explorers improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the Valley Division.
So what's the problem?
Sure, Hudson had the contest wrapped up late in the first quarter.
The Lady Explorers jumped out to a 16-2 lead and had a 25-4 advantage heading into the second quarter.
It only got better as Hudson continued to excel in all assets of the game to take a 47-9 lead at halftime.
Once the two teams returned from the locker room, the Lady Explorers let their guard down.
For Lawler, it was a bit early and a bit too much.
"We didn't play with any intensity in the second half," he said. "We can't afford to do that. It was a total lack of effort. We were watching the ball. In the first half, we played with a lot of energy. If we play with a lot of energy, we can be very good. If we don't play with a lot of energy, we can be average."
The Lady Red Raiders (0-5) had something to do with Hudson's subpar second half.
With nothing to lose, Shaker continued to play with some enthusiasm and determination. At times, it almost seemed like the Lady Red Raiders, who forced a number of turnovers and held their own on the boards after halftime, didn't pay any attention to the scoreboard.
Fortunately for the home fans, it didn't matter.
Using their vaunted full-court press that featured a lot of trapping, the Lady Explorers totally dominated the first 16 minutes.
Hudson forced 11 first-quarter turnovers, which led to several fast-break points.
At times, the Lady Explorers' execution looked just about flawless.
They passed well, shot well from the perimeter and gave the Shaker players very little room to breathe each time the Lady Red Raiders touched the ball.
The two main beneficiaries in Hudson's first-half demolition were guards Jackie Ulmer and Margo Camp. Both players showed active hands on defense to force turnovers. When they weren't scoring easy layups in transition, they were knocking down shots from all over the floor.
Ulmer finished with a game-high 18 points and three steals and Camp added 13 points and four steals. Forward Hannah Boesinger, who played the role of a facilitator in the first half, added 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Center Krissy Mummey and forward Allison Zullo scored nine and eight points, respectively. Mummey also had six rebounds and five blocks. Point guard Kelly Gough had six assists for the Lady Explorers.
"I was proud of Margo and Jackie for getting us going in the first half," Lawler said. "I thought Krissy also played well."
Hudson posted a 46-28 win in the junior varsity contest. Megan Monsman led the Lady Explorers with 13 points.
The varsity team has three games this week. Hudson is set to visit Kent Roosevelt Dec. 17 before returning home to play Valley Division foe and defending two-time Division I state champion Twinsburg Dec. 19. The Lady Explorers are scheduled to entertain Chagrin Falls Kenston Dec. 22. All three varsity games are set to begin at 7:30 p.m.