Brustoski owning the boards for Falls girls basketball

Roger Gordon
Correspondent
Cuyahoga Falls senior Emma Brustoski, left, drives to the basket past Twinsburg senior Nighyah Carthen during the first half of a basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

Emma Brustoski has been a monster on the basketball court, especially on the boards.

The Cuyahoga Falls senior forward has been dominating her opponents.

In a 45-21 victory at Garfield Heights Monday, she scored 14 points, had 18 rebounds and, for good measure, had eight steals. Two days earlier, in a 58-33 rout at home over Akron Firestone, she had six points and 13 rebounds.

“Emma has just been a constant source of energy and production for us all season,” Black Tigers head coach Joe Nowak said. “Her rebounding totals reflect how hard she works on a daily basis. She puts herself in a position to do well, and it’s great to see that hard work paying off.”

In a 43-29 defeat Jan. 27 at home to Suburban League National Conference rival Wadsworth, a loss that ended Cuyahoga Falls’ winning streak at six games, Brustoski still managed five points and six rebounds.

The Black Tigers are now 9-3 overall and 5-1 in the National Conference.

In the win over Firestone, Cuyahoga Falls led 19-12 after one quarter, 40-16 at halftime and 49-23 after three quarters.

“That strong second quarter really helped us pull away,” said Nowak. “I thought we played aggressively on defense, and that effort allowed us to control things on both ends of the floor.”

Sophomore forward Mackenzie Kramer scored 19 points, while senior forward Taylor Cain had 12 points.

Sophomore forward Ellie Brustoski, Emma’s sister, scored nine points and had six rebounds. Sophomore Kloey Dunford had six points.

In the win over Garfield Heights, Cuyahoga Falls jumped out to a 12-3 lead and was up 14-8 after the first quarter, 25-11 at the half and 37-16 after the third quarter.

“With no fans allowed in the gym,” Nowak said, “we had to find ways to create our own energy, and I think we did that by having a strong start to the game.”

Junior guard Laila Smith scored 11 points, and Kramer had eight points and five rebounds.

In the loss to Wadsworth Cuyahoga Falls trailed 14-12 after one quarter, 28-18 at halftime and 41-24 after three quarters.

“On the whole, I was really pleased with our effort defensively, but a big thing I feel we learned was the importance of defending as hard as we can for all 32 minutes,” said the coach. “Offensively, the girls did a very nice job handling the Wadsworth pressure and I feel like we took good shots, but strong teams like Wadsworth will capitalize on turnovers and empty possessions, and they did just that.”

Smith scored nine points, Ellie Brustoski scored seven points and Kramer had six points.

“The last couple of games, we’ve been getting a lot of good looks at the basket and taking a lot of good shots,” Nowak said. “They just haven’t gone in, but we need to keep having that attack mentality offensively.

“The good thing is we have five regular-season games left, and we continue to learn what we need to do individually and as a team to hopefully be playing as well as we can once postseason play starts.”

Cuyahoga Falls was scheduled to host league crossover rival Kent Roosevelt Friday before traveling to National Conference rivals Hudson Saturday and Nordonia Wednesday.