CUYAHOGA FALLS -- While neither team is a contender for the Suburban League National Conference title, the Cuyahoga Falls girls basketball team has had a difficult time beating Hudson over the years.
It's safe to say it has been even rarer for the Lady Black Tigers to post a double-digit victory over the Lady Explorers.
Such rarities are in the past now.
Host Falls cruised to a convincing 61-44 victory over Hudson Jan. 25 at Coach Tom Jones Court.
The Lady Black Tigers (9-7, 3-7) opened the game with a 10-1 run and didn't look back.
Despite some turnover issues in the first eight minutes, Falls led 12-4 and took control in the second quarter.
Playing strong defense, moving the ball effectively and most important of all, draining jumpers from everywhere, the Lady Black Tigers got the best of their longtime rivals, who defeated Falls 43-40 earlier in the season in Hudson.
While Falls was clearly the superior team Jan. 25, the Lady Explorers had some illness issues that left them a bit short-handed.
"We need to come out with more energy," Hudson head coach Dennis Lawler said. "I know it's hard because we have a lot of young kids. We have to understand that injuries and illness are part of the game and we have to find a way."
Healthy or not, the Lady Black Tigers clearly were ready for the Lady Explorers (5-12, 3-7). For Falls, such an outcome was a long time coming.
"We've prepared well in the last couple of days," Lady Black Tigers head coach Joe Nowak said. "We were able to rebound. The biggest key for us coming in was not to hurt ourselves. We didn't want to force things and create stuff that wasn't there.
"We moved the ball as well as we've done in a while. That reflects our ability to grow. They're starting to recognize what's going to work and what isn't.
"Against a team that likes to press as much as Hudson does, ball movement was the key. We found open people against their press."
Leading the way was Falls' forward Kayla Huffman and junior guard Bailee Brooks.
Huffman led all scorers with 15 points and added 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Brooks dished out several assists thanks to her ability to beat the Lady Explorers off the dribble. Brooks added 14 points for the Lady Black Tigers.
Forward Emma Freeman buried four jumpers from near the foul line and finished with 9 points for Falls. Guard Chelsea Huffman contributed 8 points for the Lady Black Tigers.
Hudson, which was missing guard Emma Messina and forward Lorenza Chiarappa because of illness, got a team-high 11 points from guard Ava Cristofoli.
Point guard Elizabeth Hinkle finished with 9 points and forward Elle Marquez contributed 8 points.
"Emma is 30 percent of our scoring," Lawler said. "She wasn't in school [Jan. 24] and she said she was even worse [Jan. 25]. Liz wasn't feeling well either."
The Lady Explorers had several shots go in and out of the basket during the first half. And when those shots didn't fall, Hudson couldn't make up much ground.
"I think we rushed our shots in the first half," Lawler said. "Our margin for error is not the greatest. I'm proud of the kids. They kept fighting. Falls played well. They deserved to win."
The Lady Explorers earned a 37-7 win in the junior varsity game.
Hudson had a full week to get well and regroup. The Lady Explorers are scheduled to host National Conference rival Twinsburg Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m.