HUDSON -- Close, but no cigar.
The Hudson boys basketball team hung tough with Brecksville-Broadview Heights, but fell short in its regular-season finale Feb. 24 at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
The Bees improved to 16-6 overall and finished 11-3 in the Suburban League National Conference after scoring a 49-38 victory. Brecksville finished in a tie for second with Wadsworth in the National Conference. Stow-Munroe Falls, which earned a 51-48 win over North Royalton Feb. 24, won the conference with a 13-1 record.
The Explorers (8-14, 3-11) were competitive for the fifth straight game. Unfortunately, Hudson lost all five of those games.
Prior to the game, the Explorers honored seniors Alex Beck, Evan Jones, Spencer McClure, Simon Saeger and Davey Spitz. All five of those players started on senior night.
"This gives us a chance to get some guys on the bench into the lineup," Hudson head coach Jeff Brink said. "Evan, Simon and Davey have done a great job supporting their teammates and definitely earned the right to get a start at the end of the year. It was great to see them go in and get their name called and go out in front of our fans."
Unfortunately, the Explorers' senior night was ruined by some poor shooting down the stretch.
Hudson missed its last six shots, while the Bees found their shooting touch in the end, making 6-of-8 shots in the final six-plus minutes to erase the Explorers' one-point lead.
That allowed Brecksville to pull away.
Hudson also had a dry spell in the second quarter.
The Explorers went more than eight minutes without a point. As a result, the Bees went on a 10-0 run.
However, Hudson managed to survive its offensive struggles and actually took an 18-17 lead at halftime. Freshman Jack Burdett scored the Explorers' last six points of the half.
"We went through that dry spell in the second quarter and end of the first, but the guys responded," Brink said. "We came out of the half well. It was one of our best efforts coming out of the half in terms of taking the lead. I was real pleased with the way we came out in the second half."
McClure finished with a career-high tying 20 points. Burdett had a career-high 11 points and added 6 rebounds and made life as difficult as possible for Brecksville 6-foot-7, 270-pound post player Jared Bazil, who had a team-leading 13 points.
"Jack Burdett gave us solid minutes off the bench," Brink said. "For a freshman to go up against an all-league kid [Bazil], he actually not only held his own but was one of our most effective players on the floor.
"Spencer got us some scores. He did a nice job taking it to the rack and he got to the free throw line. We just didn't have enough balance."
The Bees missed 12 of their first 13 3-point attempts and then knocked down three triples late in the third quarter to take a 32-30 lead.
But Hudson didn't fold.
McClure had a free throw and a bucket to give the Explorers a 33-32 advantage a little more than a minute into the fourth period.
However, Sam Wiglusz answered with another 3 for the Bees for a 35-33 score. Mike Rose then hit three two-point buckets for Brecksville as it got hot and pulled away.
McClure completed a 3-point play on a driving score with 4:59 remaining to make the score 39-36, but Hudson failed to score from the field the rest of the way.
McClure and Burdett combined to score the Explorers' final 26 points. McClure was 7-of-11 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the foul line. Burdett was 4-of-4 from the floor and 3-of-4 at the stripe.
Hudson's junior varsity team ended its season on a four-game winning streak. The Explorers won nine of their last 10 games.
Hudson defeated Brecksville 56-47 to finish 17-5 overall and 10-4 in the National Conference.
Connor Gynn, Anthony Chokenea and Alec Jackson led the effort with 8 points apiece. Kevin McBride scored all of his 7 points in pivotal fourth quarter.
The Explorers' freshmen squad finished 12-8 with a 50-41 win over the Bees. Joey Walsh and Damani Ganaway each had 14 points in the win.
Eighth-seeded Hudson is scheduled to entertain ninth-seeded Akron Firestone in a Copley Division I sectional semifinal game March 1 at 7 p.m.