by Rob Barrone | Correspondent
Wadsworth -- It wasn't a nail-biter and it wasn't a blowout.
One way or another, it was a victory for the Hudson boys basketball team.
The Explorers improved to 7-3 overall with a 68-49 win over Wadsworth Jan. 8 on the road.
Hudson took the lead early and was never seriously threatened. The Grizzlies (4-5) hung around just close enough to keep the Explorers' regulars on the floor.
Hudson head coach Jeff Brink didn't empty his bench until there were a little more than 90 seconds left in the game.
"They [the Grizzlies] hung tough," he said. "We were consistent. We just weren't able to get in position to give the knockout punch."
While the Explorers didn't get a "knockout," they may have scored a technical knockout.
Hudson won every quarter and built a double-digit lead (32-18) by halftime. Wadsworth never got a run going to make a serious threat. On two occasions, the Grizzlies managed five points in a row.
Both times, the Explorers answered with a three-pointer to kill the momentum.
"This was a good quality win on the road," Brink said. "It's nice to come in here to their new gym and get a win against a very good program. Any time you come to Wadsworth and get a win, you feel very fortunate."
Hudson never had much success at Wadsworth when the two teams duked it out as Suburban League rivals. The Explorers are now 7-14 all-time at Wadsworth.
"This facility is great," said Hudson forward Ben Gedeon, who had 14 points and 13 rebounds. "We came in here and were hitting on all cylinders. Everybody did a great job."
Zack Brandy led the Explorers with a game-high 25 points and knocked down four three-pointers. Teammate Steven Boslet buried five three-pointers and finished with 19 points.
For Gedeon and football players on the hoops squad, beating Wadsworth also is revenge of sorts with the Grizzlies ending Hudson's football postseason run in 2011.
"Every time we play Wadsworth, it's in the back of our mind," Gedeon said. "We remember that 42-21 score."
While the Grizzlies had an answer for Gedeon on the gridiron two years ago, they couldn't stop the 6-3 post player on this night.
"Ben Gedeon was phenomenal," Brink said. "Everybody talks about his football skills and what he can do on the football field, but he played tremendous basketball [Jan. 8]. He was a dominant force."
While Gedeon was grabbing all the boards (including seven on the offensive glass) and scoring inside, Brandy and Boslet made it a three-pronged attack by hitting deep balls.
"We've talked all year about secondary scoring," Brink said. "When we get a player other than Zack to come through, it makes the game simpler. With Ben dominating in the paint, he gave us an opportunity to free up our perimeter guys. Zack and Steven did a phenomenal job outside. When you get three guys over 14 points, you are going to be pretty successful on most occasions."
The Explorers made 15-of-18 free throws on the night and outrebounded the Grizzlies 30-20. Sophomore guard Austin White converted six three-pointers on his way to a team-high 22 points for Wadsworth.
Hudson was scheduled to host Northeast Ohio Conference River Division rival Twinsburg Jan. 11. Results were not available at press time.The Explorers are set to visit River Division foe Solon Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
On Jan. 21 at 2 p.m., Hudson is scheduled to play Youngstown East at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown.