HUDSON — Nature Coast went up on Hudson once Thursday, when the game was 2-0. The Cobras made it 4-2 and never looked back, and a good thing too, because the Sharks were nipping at their heels as the game closed 61-55 in favor of Hudson.
"We need to play smarter," Hudson coach Jason Vetter said. "This is how we've been. They are winning so you really don't want to get on them, but at the same time they aren't always playing smart."
The Cobras (10-6-1) held a double-digit lead at the end of the first, second and third quarters but started to get lackadaisical in the fourth, at one point allowing the Sharks (12-6) within five.
"They have done this all year and I think they are getting used to it," Vetter said. "I'm not; I am panicking and they aren't."
Star Hudson guard and team captain Jarrod Branco blames the momentum shift on himself, despite leading the game in scoring with 23 and leading the fourth quarter in scoring with seven.
"I actually think it starts with me," Branco said. "They aren't playing to their level and I lose focus yelling at them, which is my fault. They react to what their leader is doing."
Despite the mental breakdown in the fourth quarter, Hudson held on to win in part due to a strong first half. The Cobras took a 14-2 lead, shoring up any holes in the defense along the way.
"I think we played our defense well, we challenged their shooters," Vetter said. "If you leave them open they are going to knock them down like you saw in the second half. I think our defensive intensity at the start was very good, but it got less as the game went on."