HUDSON — Roughly 4 minutes separated the Hudson and Medina girls basketball teams Saturday.
Unfortunately for the Bees, their stretch of passive defense and turnover-prone offense was the difference in a 51-44 Northeast Ohio Conference cross-division loss.
The Explorers (13-2), who have won eight straight, turned a four-point deficit into an eight-point lead in a hurry, forcing Medina (11-4) to play catch-up — and ultimately falling short.
“In the beginning of the second half, we didn’t attack them,” coach Chris Hassinger said. “We got passive, and we were almost a little bit tired.
“In the first half, we were just going at them and at them and at them.”
For the majority of the game, the Bees had plenty of success against Hudson’s fast-paced 2-1-2 half-court trap. Sarah Kinch (9 points, 9 rebounds, 7 turnovers) fought through sore ribs to lead the Bees in the first half with driving scores from the high post, and a bucket by yeoman-like center T.B. Cullen
(11 points, 7 rebounds) gave them a 31-27 lead early in the third quarter.
Once the turnovers began to surface and Hudson’s Hannah Boesinger (17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks) got hot, however, momentum went on a 180-degree swing.
The Youngstown State recruit fought through foul trouble — she eventually fouled out — but took over late in the third quarter with nine points on bruising drives to the rim and a flick-of-the-wrist 3-pointer. Her buckets were sandwiched around a 3-pointer by 5-foot-11 point guard Kelly Gough (season-high 16 points) that gave Hudson the lead for good.
Medina contributed to the 14-2 run with eight of its 10 third-quarter turnovers against a ¾-court press.
“Sometimes we over-dribbled against their pressure,” said Hassinger, whose team finished the game with 26 miscues. “That comes with fatigue. They wore us down.”
Though the Bees were emotionally drained after falling behind 41-33, Hassinger’s plead for them to become physical again didn’t fall on deaf ears. As a result, Medina had a puncher’s chance at a comeback.
Great defense out of a seldom-used matchup 2-3 helped the Bees remain fairly close despite missing eight of their first nine fourth-quarter shots. Hudson made only one field goal during the quarter, and Cullen’s layup off her own missed free throw made it 47-42.
Explorers forward Allison Zullo made 1-of-2 free throws with 42.1 seconds left. Cullen then got to the line again and made a pair to make it 48-44 with 27.1 remaining, but that was all she wrote as Zullo split another pair of freebies and the Bees’ Madi Tata missed a 17-footer at the other end.
Regardless, Hassinger was more than pleased with what was overall a gritty effort.
Medina’s losses have come at the hands of Wadsworth (13-2), Ocean City, N.J. (10-1), Stow (12-4) and the Explorers (13-2). Those teams have a combined 48-9 record.
“I was proud of our kids,” Hassinger said. “We competed tonight. That’s a game right there that gets you ready for the tournament. We can go back and watch film and look at adjustments to make. We’ll get better from this game.”
Morgan Wickey had 10 points as Medina’s junior varsity lost 37-36.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.