To be the best, you have to play the best.
The Cuyahoga Falls High School girls basketball team definitely plays the best in the Suburban League on a consistent basis.
The Lady Black Tigers are part of the National Division of the Suburban League. They played a pair of tough division foes recently, dropping each contest.
On Jan. 28, Falls hosted Nordonia. The Lady Knights downed the Lady Black Tigers by the score of 51-39.
However, Nordonia only led 11-10 after the opening quarter and 21-19 at intermission. Then the Lady Knights started to pull away, outscoring Cuyahoga Falls 16-12 during the third stanza. They sealed their victory with a 14-8 run in the fourth frame.
"It was a two-point game at halftime, but we had a decent number of self-inflicted wounds throughout the second half," said Cuyahoga Falls head coach Joe Nowak. "They were able to get out in transition and get some good looks [at the basket] running the floor. They did a good job on the offensive glass, as well. The effort was there for us, but we just couldn't make enough shots."
The result was a marked improvement from the first time the two teams met earlier in the season. Nordonia prevailed by 30 points in that encounter.
Junior Kayla Huffman led the way for Falls with 13 points, while senior Bailee Brooks was also in double digits with 12 points. In addition, junior Hannah Merten tallied six points and freshman Chelsea Huffman added five markers.
Also scoring for the Lady Black Tigers were senior Emma Freeman with two points and junior De'Vine Shelton with one point.
Falls travelled to Stow-Munroe Falls Feb. 1 and came home with 51-36 loss to the Bulldogs.
Cuyahoga Falls fell behind early against Stow, as the Lady Bulldogs staked themselves to a 13-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. Stow then added to that lead, taking a 32-19 advantage into the locker room at intermission.
The third period was not kind to Falls, as the Lady Black Tigers could only manage three points. They bounced back in the fourth quarter, but it was too late to mount a comeback.
"We hung with them, but they shot the ball better than we did, and that was the difference," said Nowak. "We gave up four three-pointers in the first half. That was a tough thing to overcome. They knocked down a lot of big shots from the perimeter."
Brooks paced Falls offensively with 10 points, while Chelsea Huffman was next with nine points. Also cracking the scoring column for the Lady Knights were Kayla Huffman (eight points), Freeman (four points), junior Leslie Sawyer (two points), and sophomore Alivia Hamric (two points).
Cuyahoga Falls now owns an overall record of 9-9. The Lady Black Tigers are also 3-9 in the National Division.
On Feb. 4, Falls was set to travel to non-league opponent Akron East, but results were not available at press time.
On Feb. 8, the Lady Black Tigers will visit league nemesis North Royalton.
On Feb. 5, the Division I district tournament draw will be held at Medina High School. Based on the results of the draw, Cuyahoga Falls could play its first tournament game on Feb. 18 or Feb. 23.
"We have four more games to play before then," said Nowak. "The goal is to try to finish above .500 and hopefully play as well as we can heading into the tournament. It's a challenging district."