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The eighth-seeded Hudson boys basketball team earned a trip to a Copley Division I sectional title game after posting a 69-56 victory over ninth-seeded Akron Firestone March 1 at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
With the win, the Explorers (9-14) have a date with top-seeded Archbishop Hoban in a sectional final, which is scheduled for March 4 in Akron. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Hudson led wire to wire, but the Falcons cut it to one (47-46) when senior guard Denzel Robinson scored on a putback early in the fourth quarter.
Moments later, senior point guard Spencer McClure took over the game for the Explorers.
In a span of about five seconds, McClure completely changed the momentum of the game with a couple of long-range bombs.
With Hudson leading 49-46, senior guard/forward Alex Beck found McClure on the left side of the court for a wide-open 3-pointer. McClure's shot hit nothing but net.
In the blink of an eye, sophomore guard William Wallace stole Firestone's inbound pass and fired the ball to McClure for another wide-open 3 from the top of the key. Again, McClure found nothing but net.
In the time it takes for a person's heart to beat, the Explorers' advantage went from three to nine (55-46) with 4 minutes, 32 seconds left in the game.
McClure didn't stop there.
He knocked another 3 less than two minutes later to make it 58-46. In fact, McClure, the team's leading scorer, scored all of his game-high 18 points in the pivotal fourth quarter.
McClure, who also had 7 assists, took just four shots prior to his onslaught in the final eight minutes. In fact, McClure outscored Firestone (7-15) by himself in the fourth. The Falcons scored just 14 points in the final period.
While McClure did most of the damage late, Hudson had plenty of people step his game up a notch. It was the Explorers' highest scoring game of the season.
Hudson's three post players, 6-foot-5 freshman Jack Burdett and 6-4 seniors Adam Mehelic and Jackson Parker, also had strong games.
Burdett had a career-high 13 points and Mehelic contributed 10 points. Parker had a team-high 12 rebounds.
Beck finished with 13 points and 6 assists as eight Hudson players scored at least two points in the win.
Robinson and senior guard Tre'Maine Gray each led Firestone with 17 points as the Falcons had a number of shots from both inside and inside roll around the rim throughout the evening.