by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Hudson -- She attacked the basket with gusto and her energy certainly had an effect on her teammates.
And then something went terribly wrong.
Once starting senior point guard Alli Baylor went down with an ankle injury midway through the second quarter, the Hudson girls basketball team simply wasn't the same.
The host Lady Explorers fell to 7-9 on the season after losing a 54-49 decision to Rocky River Magnificat Jan. 22 at Buck Hyser Gymnasium.
Hudson got to within two (48-46) after trailing by as many as 13 (45-32) with 57.7 seconds remaining.
But the Lady Explorers couldn't convert on the next couple of possessions and the Lady Blue Streaks sealed the victory at the free throw line.
"They're [the Lady Blue Streaks] a really good team," Hudson head coach Dennis Lawler said.
"I was proud of the way the girls came back. No question, our effort and work ethic has been much better."
The Lady Explorers had a 24-19 lead after sophomore guard Emmy Klemencic made two free throws.
But there was a little bit of a twist to that scenario.
Klemencic went to the free throw line after Baylor was fouled and fell awkwardly to the floor while driving to the basket.
Baylor needed to be helped off the floor and was on crutches later in the game.
"It looks like a badly sprained ankle," Lawler said. "That did hurt us because we came out with some energy."
Klemencic's foul shots concluded a 21-9 spurt, but Magnificat answered quickly.
The Lady Blue Streaks concluded the half with an 8-0 run that was capped by two free throws from sophomore post/guard Phoebe Sterba. Magnificat led 27-24 at halftime.
Once the two teams returned to the locker room, Hudson looked a bit discombobulated.
The Lady Explorers struggled with their shooting touch and had some costly turnovers. The Lady Blue Streaks outscored Hudson 14-8 in the third quarter to take a 41-32 advantage.
When senior guard Sarah Scelza converted a putback, Magnificat had a comfortable 45-32 lead with less than seven minutes remaining in the game.
And that's when the Lady Explorers stormed back.
Hudson, thanks to its full-court pressure, went on a 14-3 run. Senior center Krissy Mummey converted a lob pass from Klemencic to cut the Lady Blue Streaks' advantage to just a deuce (48-46).
Hudson never got closer.
"I probably should have switched to pressure earlier," Lawler said. "But it was a good performance against a quality team. We have been playing a lot better in the last three games and hopefully, it will carry over to the rest of the season."
Mummey led the Lady Explorers with a game-high 20 points and senior guard Jackie Ulmer added 12 points for Hudson, which had five players scored at least five points.
Magnificat, on the other hand, utilized its depth to perfection. A total of 10 players scored at least two points for the Blue Streaks.
Scelza led the way with 12 points and senior post Bridget Pryatel and sophomore post Elise Keshock added nine and eight points, respectively.
The Lady Explorers are set to visit Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division rival Mentor Jan. 28. They are scheduled to return home to play Mentor Feb. 1. Both varsity contests are set to begin at 7:30 p.m.