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by Rob Barrone
Hudson -- When a game goes according to the script, that's always a good thing.
The first part of the script for the Hudson boys basketball team in its contest with Kent Roosevelt Feb. 18 at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium was to win the game.
The second part of the plan was to get a school record for senior Kevin Zullo. Within striking distance for Zullo was the 10-year-old Hudson single season mark for 3-pointers. Matt Freedman had the record of 56 triples in the 2003-04 season.
Everything went according to plan.
Zullo's fourth 3 of the game, a swished shot from the right corner that gave him 57 this season, also was the go-ahead bucket with 6 minutes, 27 seconds left to play. That triple gave the Explorers a lead (46-45) they did not relinquish the rest of the way in a 58-56 victory over the Rough Riders.
On Feb. 19 at Hyser Gymnasium, the script was flipped.
Zullo set anther record when he buried four 3-pointers to give him 112 for his career. That mark broke 2012 graduate Zack Brandy's total of 111.
Brandy is a freshman basketball player at Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea. Zullo's record-breaking triple took place late in the third quarter.
But this time, Hudson fell short as the Grizzlies pulled away with a 17-3 spurt that began late in the third quarter to earn a 63-52 win.
SDLqI talked to Zack at the BW game a couple of weeks ago and said, 'You know your record is probably in jeopardy,'" Explorers head coach Jeff Brink said.
"Zack said records are made to be broken and he would love to see Kevin have an opportunity to break it. That's the type of class that Zack Brandy has.
"Kevin has had a great career and has developed his game. He is one of the best basketball players in our league. It is compliment to his work ethic."
Against the Grizzlies, Hudson (9-11) trailed by just one (42-41) with 29.5 seconds left in the third quarter. But Wadsworth took over and never looked back.
Wadsworth (14-7) made 8 of 13 3-pointers on the evening. Things started off well for the Explorers as they took a 12-10 lead after one quarter, thanks to a pair of 3s from Brendan Burdett.
The Grizzlies responded with three triples in the second quarter to take a 29-25 lead at halftime. All told, Wadsworth made 21 of 36 shots from the floor.
Zullo led Hudson with 12 points and Mitch Guadagni added 10 points. Austin White led the Grizzlies with 14 points and Joel Kipfer finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
The Explorers earned a 37-33 victory in the junior varsity contest.
Hudson decided to go retro against the Rough Riders (11-10).
The players and cheerleaders wore old uniforms and Brink wore a plaid suit and white shoes.
The 3-pointer was a big part of this game.
Kent made nine 3s through the first three quarters and led 43-38 heading into the final eight minutes.
The Explorers struggled from beyond the arc (6 of 19), but they were very efficient in the paint. Hudson converted 19 of 32 shots near the basket.
After Zullo's record-breaking 3 gave Hudson a 46-45 lead, Chris Koscho stole the inbound pass and fed the ball to Guadagni for a layup to make it 48-45.
Leading the way was Guadagni, who made 7 of 12 shots to finish with a career-high 20 points. One of those buckets was a breakaway dunk.
"Mitch has been shooting the ball well in practice," Brink said. "He is having a tremendous season. He is one of those guys who makes us go. He is the energy guy. He rebounds the ball, he handles the ball for us, he scores and he is obviously the best defender on the floor."
Derek Schwarz added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Explorers.
Myles Wright led the Rough Riders with 18 points. Hudson, which earned a 44-32 win in the JV contest, outscored Kent 20-13 in the final eight minutes.
The Explorers were scheduled to conclude the regular season with a home date against Northeast Ohio Conference River Division rival Twinsburg Feb. 21. Results were not available at press time.
They are set to visit Green in the opening round of the Copley Division I sectional-district tournament Feb. 26 in Uniontown. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.