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by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
The postseason is a lot like the first game of the season.
You start with a clean slate and anything that happened in the past means absolutely nothing.
And that's the approach Hudson head girls basketball coach Dennis Lawler wants his kids to have now that the regular season is over.
"I think there are 199 Division I teams in the postseason," he said. "Every one of them is 0-0."
A fresh start couldn't have happened at a better time.
The Lady Explorers finished 8-13 during the regular season.
They posted a 2-8 mark in the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division. It was Hudson's most difficult season in many years.
Fortunately, the forgettable regular season had a pleasing conclusion.
Hudson cruised to a 50-36 victory over Valley Division rival Shaker Heights Feb. 12 at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium. The win ended a four-game losing streak.
"I was really happy for the kids," Lawler said. "We could have scored a lot more points. We missed a lot of bunnies, but the goal was to go out and have fun. They were much more relaxed."
The Lady Explorers, who lost a commanding 73-46 decision to Valley Division foe Mentor Feb. 10 on the road, had the same approach during practice Feb. 11.
"We had a really light practice," Lawler said. "We just did some fun shooting drills. We put kids together on different teams and we took the winning team out for ice cream."
Hudson converted just 15 of 54 shots from the floor and 20 of 31 shots from the foul line.
The Lady Explorers finished with 29 rebounds, 18 steals and 11 assists.
Jackie Ulmer led Hudson with 14 points, four steals and three assists and Krissy Mummey added nine points, a game-high 10 blocks and seven rebounds.
Ally Prosser had nine points, nine rebounds and three assists for the Lady Explorers.
"I thought Ally had a great game," Lawler said. "She rebounded well and hit some big shots."
Hudson had a 25-14 lead at halftime and led by double digits for the majority of the game.
The Lady Explorers took control with their defense.
None of the Lady Raiders scored more than nine points. Olivia Poole, who finished with 16 points during Shaker's 55-52 win over Hudson Jan. 11, on the road, finished with just six points.
The Lady Explorers also kept Thyuna Rock in check. Rock scored just six points.
"Alli Baylor and Emmy Klemencic face-guarded Poole," Lawler said. "They did a good job of defending her.
"Four of Rock's points came on free throws. She only made one field goal."
Hudson earned a 47-34 victory in the junior varsity contest to finish 11-10 on the season.
Against Mentor, Mummey led the Lady Explorers with 15 points. Baylor and Megan Monsman added eight points apiece for Hudson.
"We were only down 17-13, but then we went into a little bit of a funk in the second and third quarters," Lawler said. "To the kids' credit, they played hard until the end."
The Lady Explorers got the eighth seed at the Chagrin Falls Kenston Division I sectional-district tournament.
Hudson earned a first-round bye and is scheduled to play the Nordonia-Bedford winner Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.
If sixth-seeded Nordonia wins, the game is set to take place in Macedonia. If 15th-seeded Bedford wins, the game is set to take place at Buck Hyser Gymnasium.
The Nordonia-Bedford game was scheduled to take place Feb. 15. Results were not available at press time.
"We're hoping the competition we play can help us," Lawler said. "Our goal is to play Feb. 28."
By the way, Feb. 28 is the day of the district final contest.