By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer
Hudson – A flurry of physicality and scoring sent players to the ground but put points on the board Jan. 3 as the Hawks boys basketball team notched an early season upset of division rivals Oakmont.
With at least one Spartan player at one point craning his neck to watch the action from the sideline even as a trainer stretched his recently injured ankle, the Hawks came back to top the Spartans 62-56.
“Oakmont is a good basketball team,” said Hudson Head Coach Mike Notaro. “They play tough, tough defense…This is a great time to get that first win.”
The game marked a turning point in the still young season for Hudson as, for the first time this year, Notaro said, his team was running at close to full capacity with a series of previously injured or suspended players back on the court.
“We’ve been hit hard at the beginning of the season,” he said. “Injury bug, discipline bug, any bug that you can have, it’s hit us. But we’ve finally got most of our team back and it’s a good time to have those guys.”
Those players back in action hardly got a gentle welcome, though. Oakmont jumped out to a 25-17 lead in the first quarter thanks largely to a playing style heavy on fast breaks and unafraid to send Hudson players skittering to the floor below the basket or along the sidelines during runs.
Notaro said he told his players almost immediately, that they had to settle the pace of play.
“We were going a million miles an hour,” he said. “We needed to slow down, play tough and play our kind of basketball.”
Adjusting, Hudson exploded into the second quarter with a series of three point shots. They did not look back, chewing through Oakmont’s lead to take a 37-33 advantage into halftime.
From there, they only built on their lead, never once surrendering it back to the Spartans.
“We want to run and we think we can run with anybody,” Notaro said of this successful strategy of quelling Oakmont’s fast breaks and eating up game time. “But we also have to know when to slow down. If the run’s not there, we got to slow down.”