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HUDSON -- It was a reversal of fortune for the Hudson boys basketball team.
In their second game of the season, the Explorers fell behind 16-1 early at North Royalton, rallied, but finally succumbed to the Bears by a 51-46 count.
Hudson lost two of three at North Royalton that night back in mid-December with only the freshman team coming away with a win (43-40).
Things were different the second time the two Suburban League National Conference rivals faced off Jan. 31 at Hudson High School's Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
This time, the Explorers pulled off a clean sweep.
The varsity team improved to 6-9 overall and 2-6 in the National Conference after posting a 56-51 victory over the Bears. The junior varsity squad posted a 49-42 win and the freshmen won 38-34.
North Royalton's varsity team dropped to 10-7 overall and 5-4 in the conference.
Hudson head coach Jeff Brink's teams over the years have had much better records against conference opponents the second time around. The Explorers also have had much success in their own gym. Hudson has gone 161-93 at home in the last 25 years.
On this night, Hudson's bench delivered.
Three reserve players had season highs in points and two of those three plays had career-best totals.
Seniors Evan Jones and Davey Spitz scored 10 and 7 points, respectively. Freshman Jack Burdett also scored 7 points to help the Explorers' bench reach a season-high 26 total points.
"Our competitiveness kept us in the game," Brink said. "We got a lot of energy from the bench. The guys off the bench were hungry and really took advantage when they got the chance. Evan, Davey and Jack gave us a huge boost."
Jones, a 6-foot-3 senior, had six of his team-high 8 rebounds in the final eight minutes. He made four of his five shots.
"I just stay ready," Jones said. "I just come to practice every day and work hard. I just wait for my time to go in and make plays. I got my chance and made something with it."
"For us, it was pretty cool getting the opportunity to get more minutes for me and Evan," Spitz said. "Our teammates did a really good job setting us for a lot of different looks.
"We just wait for our numbers to be called. When we go in, we try to do what's best for the team, not what is best for us as individuals."
Lost in the talk of the reserves was a career high from Spencer McClure. The senior point guard pumped in a game-high 20 points, making 7-of-13 shots. He added 6 rebounds and a pair of steals.
McClure's baseline drive late in the first half gave the Explorers the lead for good.
He was fouled on the score and added the free throw for a 25-23 advantage. McClure was 4-of-5 at the stripe and is shooting 82 percent this season from the free throw line.
Hudson led by a 44-34 count heading into the final frame. But the Bears took advantage of the Explorers' missed shots to cut their deficit to five (53-48) with a minute to play.
But the Bears missed their final three shots and the Explorers prevailed.
Hudson's junior varsity team improved to 11-4 overall and 5-3 in the conference with its win.
Connor Gynn led the Explorers with 15 points and made 7-of-8 shots from the foul line in the final 80 seconds. Kevin McBride and Burdett added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Hudson.
The Explorers were scheduled to entertain National Conference foe Cuyahoga Falls Feb. 3. Results were not available at press time.
They are set to host Cleveland John Marshall Feb. 7 at 7 p.m.