Polars let one slip vs Hudson

To North St. Paul for the 1st of back to back Polar Thursdays (Washburn at North, the other North next is next Thursday).  The Polars host Hudson as Wisconsin wraps up regular season play this week.  Classy move at the end of the sophomore game where NSP was up big and Hudson took an extra timeout with the refs and NSP intentionally letting it go.  Last game of Hudson's soph's season, 1 minute left in a blowout, let the coach get some final teaching in, I respect that.  Pizza always a quality menu option and its back to standard 20 oz size of Fruit Punch Gatorade. 

Song of the Day
The Lion Sleeps Tonight - The Tokens

Game Time
Matt Krier on the post for Hudson for an early bucket.   Rex Johnson straight away for 3.  8-4 North St. Paul.  Hudson patient on offense with LONG possessions as the pace grinds to a screeching halt.  Johnson with a short jumper off an offensive rebound.  Krier counters in the post.  11-8 NSP at the 7:45 mark.  Hudson's Tyler Smrcina picks up his 2nd charge of the night and has to sit with 2 fouls at the 7:18 mark.  Krier on the post for 2 more.  Hunter Books with a layup at the 2:05 mark to break a NSP scoring drought of almost 6 minutes.  Its also the 1st NSP bucket by someone other than Johnson since a triple 1 minute in.  That Johnson rebound jumper at the 8 minute mark is the only NSP field goal in a stretch of 12:40.  Krier on the offensive glass for 2 more but Johnson finishes the half with a 3 point play.  16-12 North in a scintillating, I mean skull crushing migrane headache inducing, first half. 

As if the pace wasn't slow enough, Hudson comes out 2-3 zone to start the 2nd half.  The teams trade buckets before Hudson's Alex Herink uses the left hand to score a layup and a jump hook.  Kellen Pearson drives for and Smrcina makes 1 of 2 free throws.  That offensive explosion is a 7-0 run that gives Hudson their 1st lead of the game, 21-20 with 14:22 remaining.  NSP patient on their end and a double clutch jumper by Korey Dean puts them 26-23 with 10 minutes left.  After a Herink putback, JJ Abrego for 3 and then a steal for a free throw to push the lead to 30-25 with 7:43 left.  Herink posts for 2 free throws after Hudson makes a jumper and the is cut to 1.  Johnson counters with a nice pullup against the split top of the zone and then goes glass.  34-29 NSP with 4 minutes to go and they look to be in control.

But 4 minutes is lots of time.  Pearson nails a pair of 3 around a Polars turnover and all of a sudden Hudson leads 35-34 inside of 3 minutes left.  Abrego with a jumper.  Krier was the offense in the 1st half (8 of the 12) but no points in the second half until he counters that jumper with 2 in the post with 2:40 left.  North turns it over but Johnny Economy gets the steal and goes the distance.  38-37 North with 2:10 left.  Krier fouled in the post, he makes the first and the 2nd is tipped to Hudson but Smrcina gets called for his 3rd charge of the night.  38 all and 1:31 remaining.  Hudson back to the man defense they used in the first half.  NSP misses a 3 just outside of 1 minute left.  Pearson with a great backcut and gets hacked to prevent an easy layup. He makes both freebies with 47.5 left.  Books catches at the foul line and goes the rack but can't get the shot to fall with 34 seconds left.  Hudson rebounds and is fouled with 31.5 left.  The front end is no good but Herink tips the rebound out  NSP gets a good trap but Hudson saves possession with a timeout with 23.7 left.  NSP slow to foul and they catch Krier at the basket for 2 and the foul with 16.8 left.  4 seconds left when NSP takes the ball out underneath after NSP uses 1 of 4 fouls to give.  On the inbounds, Books was grabbed but no call.  NSP gets 2 that go in at the buzzer but that doesn't matter as Hudson comes from behind to win 42-40.

Post Game
For North, a very tough loss.  They fall to 9-14, but they're 4th in the Classic Suburban at 7-6.  They're at Mahtomedi Friday, then they finish the regular season with home dates against South St. Paul and Sibley.  Senior guard Rex Johnson 10 of his 14 in the first half to lead the Polars.  JJ Abrego 8 of his 11 in the second half. 

Hudson gets 13 points from center Matt Krier.  Frosh star Alex Herink held scoreless in the first half, but he finishes with 8 points on 3-8 shooting and 8 rebounds on my sheet.  Junior Kellen Pearson comes up big off the bench with 10 of his 12 points in the 2nd half (book had 10).  The Raiders finish their regular season 8-14, 5-7 and 5th place in the Big Rivers.  They host Eau Claire North in a 8-9 pigtail game on Tuesday night.

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