BOARDMAN - Hubbard Eagles basketball coach Rick Fox took note of what happened in the first game of a doubleheader in the first round of the Division II district tournament Monday.
Watching the underdog Struthers Wildcats defeat the Howland Tigers, Fox knew the Eagles better not take 1-19 Southeast lightly. Fox's concerns were well-founded as the Pirates made a determined effort before falling off in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles (14-7) advanced to the second round with a 66-49 win. Hubbard will play Struthers Friday at 6 p.m. in a bracket final.
The Pirates, who trailed by as many as 18 points in the second quarter, rallied to within two points, 40-38, late in the third stanza.
"I was kind of scared coming here because that team is 1-19," Fox said. "We watched some film on them, and they were playing hard. They didn't give up. When a team goes down by 18, some teams are going to fold, but they didn't."
The Eagles, who led 41-38 through three quarters, came out strong in the fourth period. Mike Lopuchovsky opened the period with a fielder, and Kurtis Drummond, who scored 26 points, then scored two of his 11 fourth-quarter points. Two free throws by Lopuchovsky extended Hubbard's lead to 48-38.
The Pirates weren't able to get closer than eight points down the stretch. The Eagles scored 11 of the final 14 points.
"It's been nine days since we played last," Fox said. "We went against Liberty a couple days ago and brought some other guys in just to run up and down, but when you don't have that game atmosphere for nine days, you'd figure we might come out a little sluggish.
"We came out strong, but we had that lackadaisical effort in the middle of the third quarter. I told the guys that you can't let a team have hope. We gave them some hope. You saw what happened to Howland. They gave Struthers hope.
Drummond stretched his scoring out over four quarters, opening with six in the first period. Bobby Thompson also scored in double figures for the Eagles with 15.
Joe DeJacimo scored 19 points to lead Southeast's scoring, including four 3-point shots. Ozzie Thomas was next with 10 points.
The Eagles took a 15-5 lead after the first period. They led 32-18 lead at halftime and had a 36-18 lead when the Pirates, led by DeJacimo's 12 points in the third quarter, made their run.