By HO HOFFMAN
Special to The Gazette
WADSWORTH â€” Hudsonâ€™s boys basketball team strolled into Wadsworth on Saturday night like a big beach bully and spent the rest of the evening kicking sand in the face of the Grizzlies.
The Explorers remained undefeated with an easy 62-52 non-league win.
Hudson (5-0) had its way throughout the contest, never trailing and holding double-digit leads from the second quarter on except for a 44-35 margin early in the fourth quarter which quickly rose to 58-39.
Due to Hudsonâ€™s efforts of stopping Alan Sheppard and Anthony Schrock â€” fast becoming the scouting report for all Wadsworth (4-4) opponents â€” the Grizzlies never got on track offensively until garbage time.
â€œOur plan was simple: stop Anthony Schrock and Alan Sheppard,â€ Hudson coach Jeff Brink said. â€œThose are two tremendous players and we decided to concentrate on limiting Schrockâ€™s touches and press Sheppard all over the place. If we were going to lose it was going to be the other three Wadsworth players who were going to beat us.â€
No threat there. Out of a possible 160 minutes of a teamâ€™s playing time, Schrock (11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists) and Sheppard (15 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists) played 56 and put up solid numbers.
The 10 Grizzlies who played the remaining 104 minutes combined for 26, 16 and eight.
Of that total, eight points and four rebounds came in late in the fourth by Prescott Williams (11 points, 6 rebounds) after Wadsworth fell behind 58-39. So in the 100 minutes that really mattered, the rest of team scored only 18 points and had 12 rebounds.
â€œWe need others besides Schrock and Sheppard to step up and take charge,â€ Wadsworth coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. said. â€œWe have to find some consistency in our attack and start getting contributions from others when it means something, not just when the pressure if off.â€
With Hudson 6-foot-7 twin towers Josh Jonaitis (12 points, 6 rebounds) and Colin Geaney (7 points, 4 rebounds) forcing Schrock away from his comfort zone under the hoop all the way to the top of the key, Wadsworth had no threat down low.
Schrock wasnâ€™t able to get his first basket until 7;20 remaining in the third quarter and his second at the start of the fourth quarter. That meant the Wadsworth attack was going to have come mainly from the perimeter and the Grizzlies responded by shooting 26 percent (9-of-34) through three quarters.
â€œWadsworth did what we wanted them to do,â€ Brink said. â€œWe have an experienced team and they just kept stepping up the pressure on Wadsworth defensively and then taking advantage of their mistakes on the offensive end.â€
Led by senior guards Bobby Tyler (17 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) and Richie Piekarski (17 points, 7 rebounds) the Explorers jumped out to a 13-6 first quarter lead and 29-19 at half due mainly to a shot Brink called the biggest of the game.
Wadsworth had picked up a little momentum at the end of the second quarter and had closed to within 26-19 when Hudsonâ€™s Jake Brandy scored his only basket of the game â€” a 25-footer at the buzzer.
â€œThat was a huge basket at the time,â€ Brink said. â€œYou could see the air come out of Wadsworth and see our kids getting sky high. That gave us a huge push to start the third quarter.â€
The Explorers jumped out to a quick 34-21 lead starting the third quarter and coasted the rest of the way.
â€œI thought we were really prepared for tonightâ€™s game and would be ready to play,â€ Schmeltzer said. â€œWe came out flat and we never really recovered.â€
Hoffman may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.