By Greg Gulas
During his coaching days at Springfield and Salem High, Hudson boys basketball coach Jeff Brink was always aware of the tradition and hard-nosed play of Youngstown’s city teams.
That didn’t change Monday.
Steven Boslet had a game-high 20 points while Zack Brandy added 13 as the Explorers stopped East, 52-48 at Covelli Centre.
“We play a difficult schedule and the competition that we play helps prepare us for games like this,” Brink said. “Coach [Dennis] Simmons does an excellent job with his team and you can just see how well-coached they are.”
The Explorers were playing without one of their top players, Ben Gedeon, a Michigan football recruit who recently strained his shoulder.
“We preach no excuses and the standard doesn’t change for us no matter who hits the floor,” Brink said.
Eight points by Boslet offset seven tallies by East’s Taylor Johnson in the opening frame as Hudson (9-4) raced to the early 16-12 advantage.
The Panthers then went on a 10-2 run to start the second period, keyed by Patrick Johnson’s five points as East (10-5) forged a 24-22 halftime lead.
“East is an excellent team — much bigger and much more athletic than we — are so we needed to get out and score in transition,” Boslet said. “We were able to create some uncontested lay-ups and got some wide open 3-point attempts, which we were able to knock down.”
Hudson finished the third quarter with a 14-3 run to build a 38-32 lead entering the fourth.
East’s Terrell McClain scored all 12 of his points in the final frame, his last coming on a free throw at the 2:53 mark which gave the Panthers a 47-45 advantage.
A John Zuccaro bucket 16 seconds later knotted the game at 47. Jarel Gadson then made one of two free throws to give East its last lead. Boslet made a 3-pointer with 2:11 left and hit two free throws with eight seconds left to seal the game.
“We’re still learning how to put together four good quarters of basketball. When you play a quality team like Hudson, you have to play four good quarters if you expect to win,” Simmons said. “You also have to have quality possessions while limiting their quality possessions.”
The Explorers held a 23-18 rebound advantage with Alex Mushock hauling in a game-high eight caroms.
Deontay Scott had seven rebounds for the Panthers (10-5), who have lost four of five.