By Eric Clutter | Correspondent
Critical of his team's defense in the opening half against Kent Roosevelt Tuesday night, Hudson coach Jeff Brink had a much different view after his team dominated the second half and recorded a 74-42 non-league victory over the Rough Riders.
Ahead by only six points at the half (34-28), the Explorers found their stride on both ends of the court in the third period, outscoring the hosts 23-5 en route to notching their 10th straight victory on the campaign.
"Our goal was to win the third quarter by double digits," said Brink. "We accomplished our goal and I thought that was the key to the game.
"The third quarter was beautiful. I thought it was a well-played quarter. Our execution on the offensive end was tremendous and our defense was solid."
On the strength of six 3-pointers during the first two stanzas, the Explorers (17-4) were able to erase a 15-14 defcit after one quarter and claimed the six-point edge at the break, despite a sub-par defensive showing.
"We weren't real pleased with our first-half defense. You have to give the Rough Riders some credit, I thought they shot the ball extremely well. Our defense is what we hang our hat on, and it did not meet our level of expectations. We gave up too much dribble penetration and we were slow in defensive transition. I thought those were some of the things we wanted to correct. In the second half, I thought we did a tremendous job of that."
Hudson senior guard Zack Brandy had 12 points in the opening half and just kept going thereafter, adding 14 more in the final half to finish with 26.
"Zack Brandy is Zack Brandy," said Brink. "That's what he does every night," said of the 6-0 Brandy, who averages around 18 an outing. "He is one of the best players in our conference."
Senior guard Steve Boslet backed Brandy with 14 points and strong defensive play. Kevin Zullo contributed 11. He and Boslet each knocked down three 3s while Brandy nailed two himself.
"They don't have 17 wins by accident," said Roosevelt coach Ben Dunlap. "They can play, and in the first half I thought we did great job of using our defense to ugly-up the game. We were down by six points and I thought we were right there.
"I don't feel like they did anything in the third quarter to take us out, but it was like our first half against Crestwood last (Friday). We start missing shots, we start hanging our heads and it affects our total game. We have to get past that and understand that we need to use our defense, our rebounding and our intensity to our benefit. Not let some missed shots affect our total game."
Roosevelt (6-15), hit eight 3s on the night, but had only eight two-point buckets as well. After a strong first eight minutes that saw them take the one-point lead, the Rough Riders were held to just 27 points the rest of the way.
Myles Wright had three 3s and finished with 16 points. Sophomore Phillip Grant added 12. No one else had more than five.
Hudson also won the rebounding battle, 36-27.