HUDSON — When it comes to the Cuyahoga Falls girls basketball team, the rules are pretty simple.
If you stop Chelsea Huffman, you will most likely stop the Black Tigers.
On Wednesday, Hudson held the Black Tigers’ leading scorer below double digits.
Sadly for the Explorers, they couldn’t stop quite a few of her friends.
Thanks to a balanced attack, Falls topped host Hudson 51-41 at Ray "Buck" Hyser Gymnasium.
The Black Tigers, who improved to 13-6 overall and 8-4 in the Suburban League National Conference, got just seven points from Huffman, Falls’ dazzling senior guard who recently broke Falls’ record for most career points.
However, Huffman dished out her share of assists and two other less heralded Black Tigers were more than happy to pick up the slack.
Senior guard Raygan Corrigall and freshman guard Mackenzie Kramer each scored 14 points to lead Falls.
"When you have Raygan and Mackenzie off the bench knocking down shots, that just opens things up not only for Chelsea, but for everybody else," Black Tigers head coach Joe Nowak said.
The precocious Kramer seems to be evolving quite nicely every time she takes the floor.
"She’s just a lot more comfortable every time we play," Nowak said. "She’s not rattled. She knows what she does well. It’s the idea of recognizing when she’s open and trusting her shot. At the same time, defensively, she showed continued growth.
"For her to contribute with double digits, along with Raygan, that’s great for her confidence and I think that helps us as a group."
Falls took a 13-4 lead, but the Explorers rallied to cut their deficit to a single possession (20-18) early in the third quarter when senior guard Sarah Hinkle converted a 3-point play.
However, the Black Tigers took control from there.
When Huffman made a reverse layup, Falls had its largest advantage (44-30) of the game early in the fourth period.
Although they missed a couple of free throws late in the game, the Black Tigers were not threatened the rest of the way.
"They’re having a great year and they’re playing hard," Hudson head coach Dennis Lawler said. "We played hard in stretches. We just have to get better at the little things."
While Falls dictated the tempo for much of the way, the Explorers didn’t help themselves. They converted just 7-of-13 foul shots and committed 18 turnovers. Hudson also missed its share of chippies.
"We still missed free throws and we can’t finish around the basket," Lawler said. "We’ll keep working on it. We’ll keep trying to get better."
Junior guard Emma Brustoski added 10 points and four steals for the Black Tigers, who converted just eight of their 17 foul shots.
Nowak also has been pleased with the efforts of senior post player Olivia Lemmon, who finished with a game-high eight rebounds.
"I think she has very much settled into this level of comfort in terms of what her role is," Nowak said. "I think she controls the paint well. She defends well.
"She’s very much a glue that we have inside the arc. She communicates well in addition to her physical skills. Any additional points we get from her are an added bonus. At the same time, she puts others in positions to succeed."
Hinkle led the Explorers (8-11, 4-8) with a game-high 17 points and freshman guard Ali Menendez added 11 points.
Falls needed to regroup after it suffered a humbling defeat to National Conference rival Wadsworth 46-22 last Saturday at Coach Tom Jones Court.
"For as much of a struggle Wadsworth was a few days ago, I’m really proud of everyone’s ability not only to bounce back but putting to practice what we really try to preach over the last couple days," Nowak said.
"I thought we were a lot more composed against pressure. I thought we moved the ball better than we did the last time we played. To have the balance we had is something we need, moving forward."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.