by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Hudson -- They've beaten some quality teams handily and they had to survive a couple of slug fests.
One way or another, the Lady Explorers haven't lost in a month.
The host Hudson girls basketball team earned a 51-44 victory over Northeast Ohio Conference rival Medina Jan. 19 at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
The Lady Explorers also posted a 59-48 victory over Rocky River Magnificat Jan. 21 at St. Edward High School in Lakewood.
It was their ninth consecutive victory.
Hudson went on a 10-0 run at the end of the third quarter to take a 41-33 lead. The Lady Explorers never relinquished their advantage the rest of the way in a contest that was more of a grind than a thing of beauty.
"I was really proud of the girls," Hudson head coach Dennis Lawler said. "They [the Bees] hit a couple of threes and we didn't panic.
"These girls are resilient. Like I've said before, it's very tough to win a basketball game in Northeast Ohio."
The Lady Explorers (14-2) forced 12 turnovers in the third quarter to take a 41-36 lead.
Hudson senior forward Hannah Boesinger scored nine of her game-high 17 points in the period.
Boesinger, who also had eight rebounds, eventually fouled out with a minute left, but the Lady Explorers' defense held their ground.
Senior point guard Kelly Gough officially iced the game with the final points of the game with 16.3 seconds left. Gough finished with 16 points, three steals and three assists.
"Kelly was huge," Lawler said. "It might have been the best game she ever played for us. She got some key rebounds down the stretch."
Gough, who is most comfortable dribbling by people, is gaining more and more confidence in her outside shot.
She knocked down a trio of three-pointers. All three of her triples gave her team the lead.
"At first, I was hesitant to shoot threes," Gough said. "My coaches have been telling me to shoot it, so I'm starting to get more comfortable doing it."
Gough's performance was particularly crucial since Boesinger had to spend some time on the bench in the second quarter after picking up her second foul.
"We just had to step up," Gough said. "[Boesinger] is a big part of our team. We picked up the intensity and we executed."
And no one was more pleased to witness this intensity and execution than Lawler.
"We're not just one, two or three players," he said. "We need to have all of our girls contribute and we had that [Jan. 19]."
One of those players who did her part was senior forward/guard Allison Zullo, who finished with 10 points and made her presence felt on both ends of the court.
While much of the second half favored Hudson, Medina (11-4) never allowed the Lady Explorers to get too comfortable.
The Bees defense disrupted Hudson's well-oiled offensive machine and Medina held its own on the boards.
But the Lady Explorers made the critical plays down the stretch to prevail.
Toribeth Cullen led the Bees with 11 points and Holly Rhodes and Sarah Kinch each had nine points.
Hudson is set to host Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division rival Stow-Munroe Falls Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m.