Hudson leads Wayland to victory regional semis
Wayland senior Avery Hudson was like a caged animal.
Due to foul trouble, Hudson had been relegated to the bench for the final 4:50 of the third quarter in his team’s Class B boys’ basketball regional semifinal against Three Rivers on Monday, March 13. And he wanted nothing more than to get back on the floor.
Unfortunately for Three Rivers, he got that chance at the start of the fourth quarter.
Hudson scored 14 points in the first 4:50 of the final stanza to expand what had already been a double-digit lead and seal what would become a 67-44 win for Wayland.
Hudson finished with a game-best 28 points as Wayland improved to 21-3 and earned a place in the regional title game against Benton Harbor on Wednesday, March 15. The winner of that game will advance to a state quarterfinal in Caledonia at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 21.
This performance was just the latest in a season on offensive highlights for Hudson, who recently set the school record for points in a game with 53.
“Averys works hard and he loves the game,” said Wayland coach Mike Hudson, who doubles as Avery Hudson’s father. “He hates not being out on the floor and played very well once he got back in there.”
Six of Avery Hudson’s fourth-quarter points came on a pair of 3-pointers, giving him four for the game.
Not that he was the only Wayland player to perform well on the offensive end of the court, as three other players joined him in double figures.
Mitchell Dykstra went for 12 points, while Zack Nieuwkoop and Depree Holloway chipped in with 10 points each.
Defensively, Wayland forced Three Rivers into 16 first-half turnovers. Many of those turnovers led to points, helping Wayland build a 34-21 halftime lead.
“Our kids really like to get after it on the defensive end,” Mike Hudson said. “We try to make the other team as uncomfortable as possible by making them speed up or slow down. Anything to take them out of their normal rhythm.”
Wayland extended its lead early in the third quarter, getting a pair of free throws from Nieuwkoop and two baskets from Holloway made it 40-21.
Three Rivers cut the deficit back to 13 at 46-33 entering the final quarter, but Avery Hudson made sure it didn’t stay that way for long.
“Our guys did a really nice job maintaining our lead with Avery out,” Mike Hudson said. “They’ve had to do it at other times this season and they all really stepped up. Then when we got him back out there to start the fourth quarter, that really sealed it for us.
“Three Rivers is a real hard-nosed type of basketball team. We never really got that kind of momentum we wanted until later in the game.”
For Three Rivers (15-8), Austin Wright scored a team-best 20 points. Tirrell Hausmanis added seven points.