March 14, 2012 —
By Bill Mullaly
The 21-year wait is over for the Hudson Tiger boy’s varsity basketball team. On Friday night the Tigers exorcised the demons that had prevented them over the years from winning a district crown as this time the basketball gods decided it was Hudson’s turn to have some fun. A 59-55 win over Adrian-Madison in the Hudson gym gave the Tigers it’s first district basketball title since 1991. “This is an awesome feeling and we earned it,” said victorious boy’s head coach Wayne Perry. “We knew this was possible and it was a goal of this team since the season began to win the district on our home floor. Our seniors led us to the championship. Those two guys Burke Hart and Justin Sumbur are great leaders and this was a true team effort. I couldn’t be prouder of this team and what they have done for us, especially late in the season.”
Hudson rode a wave of momentum into the district having won four of its final five regular season games and the hot streak continued in district play leading to the championship. Sand Creek was clobbered in the district semifinal win on Wednesday as the Tigers, playing on the home floor, had little trouble beating the Aggies 58-39. Madison advanced with a 53-26 shellacking of Addison in the other semifinal on Wednesday. Hudson has now won six of its past seven and sits at exactly .500 at 11-11.
Tigers top Trojans
Hudson wanted this one dearly and the stage was set for an historic moment over two decades in the making. The Tiger-Trojan battle was close the entire way with both teams tied at 10 after one quarter. Madison seized a lead of 24-16 late in period two before sophomore standout Logan Milligan hit four foul shots and Sumbur made a lay-up to close the margin. The Trojans eventually went to the locker room up 27-24 at halftime. The game was tied in period three when junior point guard Adam Laughlin nailed a long 3-point shot and Hudson led 36-33. Madison regained the lead at the end of three up 39-38. Madison scored again and then Sumbur took over scoring six straight and Justin Boies, the 6-5 space-eater in the middle, scored and suddenly Hudson was up 48-41 with five minutes left to play. Collin Slates, who hit six 3′s in the game for Madison, hit one to cut the deficit to 48-44. The game stayed close but the Tigers kept on top all the way down the stretch making seven of eight free throws in the final quarter. Four big foul shots came from Boies and then he hit a key basket with 35 seconds left putting the Tigers up 56-52. Junior off-guard Bubba Williams hit two foul shots with 20 seconds left to ice the game at 58-52 or did he? Slates would have none of that as the sophomore sensation for A-M hit a 3-pointer to make ti 58-55 with 15 seconds left. Then Hudson just about got hit with a ten-second call for not getting the ball over half-court when Perry called timeout. The refs with six seconds left added three seconds and A-M was still alive with nine seconds to play. The time was added over confusion of who called timeout and when. Hudson got the ball in-bounds and Williams hit one foul shot with six seconds left to finish off the Trojans as the 59-55 lead withstood another late Slates 3-pointer that this time missed with just ticks left on the clock. “Sumbur came up big late in the game and that is why he is possibly the county player-of-the-year,” said Perry about his senior who scored a team-high 19 points. When asked if winning this district at home was the team’s goal Perry responded, “Absolutely, it has been since 1991 that Hudson last won a district title and as their coach I know this is huge honor for these boys. They deserve this and boy did we hit the free throws when we needed to.” Hudson sunk 18 of 21 foul shots in the game and that was the key to the win along with getting the ball down low to its big guys. Boies scored 13 points as he and Sumbur scored 27 of Hudson’s 35 points in the second half. Hart added seven points and eight rebounds. Williams scored nine points and Milligan added six and Laughlin five. Sumbur had four steals and Laughlin six assists. Madison had Slates’ six 3′s but was just five of seven at the charity stripe.
Perry noted that in his seventh year of coaching that his first game back in 2005-06 was at home versus Madison and now seven years later the first district title of his career and the school’s first in 21 years also came against Madison. “We have come along way and this is a huge step for the program and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving group of players,” said Perry, who was a player in the Hudson program the last time the Tigers claimed a district crown.
Hudson was all over the Creek early leading 17-4 after one quarter and up 23-4 early in period two. By halftime the lead was 36-21 as SC fought to stay with the Tigers. The Tigers stayed comfortably ahead as they cruised to a lead of 46-25 after three quarters. The top scorer for Hudson was Williams with 14 points but the Tigers had plenty of balance in winning this game. Boies added 13 points, while Hart and Sumbur scored ten each. Laughlin added seven and Milligan four. Hudson again was superb at the line making nine of 11 free throws.
Sumbur hit for a double-double as he added 11 rebounds. Boies added seven rebounds as did Hart. Milligan recorded six assists and three steals.
The Tigers advanced to the class C regional tournament three nights ago (Monday) at Manchester to face Ypsilanti’s Willow Run the winner of the district at Clinton. The 6:00 tip-off will be followed by the game between Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central and River Rouge. The regional final was set for last (Wednesday) night at 7:30 at Manchester.