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Boys hoops team falls to Hoban in sectional final

By ROB BARRONE Correspondent Published: March 8, 2017 12:00 AM
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AKRON -- It was old school.

It wasn't quite the images portrayed in the 1986 film Hoosiers, but the Hudson boys basketball team's first-ever visit to Archbishop Hoban March 4 in Akron had a nostalgic feel.

The Knights had a shorter court, wooden bleachers on the stage at one end and balcony bleachers at the other end.

In the end, talented Hoban proved to be much more comfortable than the Explorers in its old-school gym.

As a result, Hudson's season came to an end.

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The eighth-seeded Explorers finished 9-15 after suffering a convincing 58-41 defeat to the top-seeded Knights in a Copley Division I sectional title game.

Although his team was eliminated, Hudson head coach Jeff Brink enjoyed the experience.

"This was a great atmosphere," he said. "You have the old-school atmosphere with the balconies. It was fun. It was a great opportunity to play one of the best teams in Northeast Ohio in their house.

"This was the opportunity of a lifetime to make a memory that could last forever. I definitely have the utmost respect for our kids and the effort they put out."

Hoban (21-2) took a 20-13 lead after one quarter and was particularly stellar from beyond the 3-point arc. The Knights made 11-of-25 shots from 3-point land.

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The Explorers were still in the game with less than four minutes left. But Hudson missed 13 of its last 14 shots.

"They [the Knights] hit so many [3s] early," Brink said. "That put us behind the eight ball because we are not the kind of team that can go match three for three. We had to try to gut our way out and fight and scrap our way back into the game."

With Collen Gurley hitting three triples in the first quarter and five for the game for a game-high 22 points, Hoban took control early.

Hudson had a season-low nine turnovers and forced the Knights to give the ball away 11 times.

The Explorers cut their deficit to 13 (47-34) heading into the final eight minutes, thanks to their leading scorer, Spencer McClure. The senior point guard scored eight straight Hudson points in the third and finished with a career-high tying 20 points.

"Spencer stepped up and had another fantastic performance," Brink said. "He has been a tremendous player all season. It was a game that he gave us his best. It was a phenomenal effort.

"We had really good energy," McClure said. "The shots just didn't fall. It was a good year overall, winning a playoff game. They [the Knights] are a really good team. We fought with a lot of energy, but they were just better than us."

McClure averaged 11.8 points per game during the season. He had 20, 18 and 20 points in the final three games of his career.

Other seniors who played in their final high school game were forwards Jackson Parker, Adam Mehelic and Evan Jones and guards Alex Beck, Davey Spitz and Simon Saeger.

"I feel bad for the seniors," Brink said. "It's always tough the last time you take the jersey off. We have been together since these guys were in sixth grade, taking them to camps. This is a great group of guys, I love being with them. The regret is we couldn't get a few more wins."

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