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by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Hudson -- Fifty days can seem like forever.
It takes up nearly two months and nearly 10 work weeks.
Heck, it's even longer than the 40-day miracles that were written in the Bible.
For the Hudson girls basketball team, 50 days, enjoyable as they were, turned out to be much too short-lived.
That's because the Lady Explorers' 12-game winning streak is over.
Hudson dropped to 17-3 overall and 6-2 in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division after losing a 66-55 decision Feb. 5 at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
When was the last time the Lady Explorers lost a game?
You would have to turn back the clock to 2012.
Hudson suffered a 68-48 setback to another Valley Division rival, Twinsburg, Dec. 19 at Hyser Gymnasium.
One of Hudson's 12 wins took place against the very same team that ended the Explorers' impressive streak.
Hudson earned a 65-58 win over Solon Dec. 27 on the road.
This time, the Comets proved to be just a bit too much, particularly down the stretch.
Solon (16-4, 6-3) outscored the Lady Explorers 19-6 in the final eight minutes.
"You can't give a team like that many opportunities," Hudson head coach Dennis Lawler said. "We didn't take care of the ball and we rushed our offense a little bit. I think we panicked a little bit."
Prior to the fourth quarter, the Lady Explorers appeared to have the momentum on their side.
Thanks to its strong defense and stellar ball movement, Hudson outscored the Comets 20-12 in the third period to take a 49-47 lead.
The Lady Explorers' last basket of the quarter was a thing of beauty.
After moving the ball from one side of the court to the other, guard/forward Allison Zullo zipped a pass to guard Brynne Drohan in the left corner. Drohan buried a three-pointer to give Hudson the advantage with two seconds left.
Unfortunately, that jolt of electricity vanished quickly.
Solon guard Martha Thompson, a Xavier University (Dayton) recruit who finished with a game-high 23 points, converted a three-point play on the opening possession of the fourth quarter.
That gave the Comets a 50-49 lead -- a lead Solon didn't relinquish the rest of the way.
"That was a huge moment," Comets head coach Trish Kruse said. "They [the Lady Explorers] were playing a little triangle-and-two that got to us a little bit. Once we beat it, we were able to get them to do what we wanted to do."
Solon opened the fourth period with a 9-0 run. Hudson trimmed that margin to three (56-53) when point guard Kelly Gough knocked down two free throws with 1 minute, 12 seconds left.
But Comets guard Kristen Confroy got a wide-open layup after a turnover moments later.
At that point, the Lady Explorers' only choice was to foul.
That didn't work out so well.
Solon buried its last six free-throw attempts to put it away.
"We were forced to foul at that point," Lawler said. "I was proud of our girls. They played extremely hard. We just need to do a little better job of staying in our offense and not rushing things."
Thompson was a matchup headache throughout the evening.
She drove to the basket at will, found open teammates and made her presence known on the glass.
"Martha hit a couple of threes, but the big thing with her is that she attacked the basket and took care of the ball," Kruse said.
While Thompson made the most plays, the Comets got plenty of contributions from several different players.
Guard Kristen Confroy seemed to guard just about every Hudson player during the game and also created offense with her stellar ball-handling skills.
Confroy finished with 17 points and guard Jordan Bekelja and post player Alexis Gray each had 10 points for Solon.
Forward Hannah Boesinger led the Lady Explorers with 18 points and 10 rebounds and Gough finished with 12 points. Forward Allison Zullo had six assists and guard Margo Camp finished with five steals for Hudson. The Lady Explorers made shot 20-of-62 from the floor and 13-of-15 from the foul line. They committed just 11 turnovers.
Hudson's junior varsity team improved to 16-4 with a 46-40 win over the Comets.
The road didn't get any easier for the Lady Explorers. They were scheduled to visit defending two-time Division I state champion Twinsburg Feb. 9. Results were not available at press time.
Hudson is set to conclude the regular season at Mentor for a Valley Division showdown Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m.