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They aren't mirror images of each other, but in some ways, the Hudson and Cuyahoga Falls boys basketball teams have been very much alike this season.
When they met for the second time this season Feb. 3 at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium, the Explorers were able to break away from their shooting tendencies, making 50 percent of their shots.
The result was a 54-48 victory over the Black Tigers. Falls won the first meeting 57-50 Dec. 13 on its court, shooting 52 percent from the floor in that game.
With its second straight Suburban League National Conference win, Hudson improved to 3-6 in National Conference play and 7-9 overall. The Black Tigers dropped to 2-8 in the conference and 7-10 overall.
Falls shot just 35.8 percent for the game. Explorers head coach Jeff Brink knows the feeling.
Hudson had shot 40 percent or less for seventh straight games.
On Feb. 3,the Explorers shot a season best on two-point shots, connecting at a 62.5-percent rate.
"We haven't shot the ball well throughout most of the season," Brink said. "That has been one of our Achilles heels -- our inability to convert the layup. We were more effective on converting our layups.
"The fact that we were able to convert on layups put us in the position where we were able to play with the lead most of the night."
In fact, Hudson led most of the way. The Explorers led 32-18 at halftime and were up 48-32 with 4 minutes, 18 seconds left in the game. The Black Tigers closed the game on a 16-6 run.
Despite the late barrage, Falls shot 5 of 23 from 3-point distance, including 0 for 9 in the first 16 minutes.
Hudson didn't light it up from 3-point range. The Explorers made just 2 of 12 shots from beyond the arc. But Hudson made up for it with a deadly inside attack.
Leading the way was senior 6-foot-5 post player Jackson Parker, who led all scorers with 20 points and added 10 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. He converted 9 of 12 shots from the floor. The Explorers had a 30-26 edge on the glass.
"He had a huge game," Brink said of Parker. "He was not only active going to the goal, the guys did a great job hitting him in stride going to the rim. He also did a great job on the glass. He was very active defensively and contesting shots."
Ja'Quan Campbell and Dion Davis each had 12 points for the Black Tigers. Troy Tofil added 10 points and 12 rebounds for Falls.
The Black Tigers, who were short-handed, made 7 of 14 shots in the final eight minutes. Hudson made all seven of its shots.
"The difference is we made layups," Brink said. "When your free throw shooting [8 of 17] and 3-point shooting are not efficient, those layups become paramount."
Hudson's junior varsity team earned its fourth straight win after posting a 54-39 victory. Alec Jackson led the Explorers (12-4, 6-3) with nine points. A total of 12 players scored for Hudson.
The Explorers earned a 46-44 win in the freshman game.