Brush ends season for Falls girls basketball

Roger Gordon

The Cuyahoga Falls girls basketball team was simply over matched in its Division I Northeast 2 sectional final Feb. 18 at Lyndhurst Brush.

Cuyahoga Falls

The 19th-seeded Black Tigers lost to the ninth-seeded Arcs 62-17.

Brush raced out to a big lead after one quarter, led 47-14 at halftime and put it in cruise control the rest of the way.

It was the eighth straight defeat for Cuyahoga Falls, which finished the season with a 9-10 record.

“Brush was one of the deepest, most athletic teams we played all season,” Black Tigers head coach Joe Nowak said. “I thought we prepared well going into the game, but they were one of the strongest teams in the area for a reason.”

Sophomore forward Mackenzie Kramer paced Cuyahoga Falls with nine points. Senior forward Emma Brustoski scored five points, and junior guard Laila Smith had three points.

Cuyahoga Falls had one more game to play the following night, Feb. 19, at Suburban League National Conference rival Hudson in the regular-season finale.

The Black Tigers lost 48-43, ending their conference slate with a 5-4 record.

The score was tied 7-7 after the first quarter, but the visitors trailed 21-14 at the half. Cuyahoga Falls, behind the strength of four three-pointers in the third quarter, rallied to take a five-point lead late in the period.

However, in a game of spurts from both teams, the Explorers regained a two-point lead, 36-34, heading into the fourth quarter. Then, after Cuyahoga Falls tied the game at 41 behind two Kramer free throws, Hudson outscored the Black Tigers 7-2 over the last three minutes to hang on for the win.

“We had several opportunities down the stretch to tie or take the lead,” said Nowak. “Hudson stepped up defensively, though, and made some nice plays late in the game.”

Nowak was pleased the Tigers had the chance to play one more time after their postseason loss to Brush.

“Our games with Hudson over the last several years have been really competitive, hard-fought and fun to be part of, and this one was no exception,” he said. “Each of our seniors also played really well, and I hope they’ll be able to look back positively on their last high school game.”

Cuyahoga Falls will graduate three seniors – Brustoski, senior forward Taylor Cain and senior guard Audriana Bando – but will also return a core group of underclassmen who played major minutes throughout the season and were consistent contributors on both ends of the floor.

“We’re really going to miss our seniors,” Nowak said. “They’re really good people and did a great job leading by example and bringing a sense of enthusiasm every day. Wherever life takes them after graduation, I know they have the talent to do well.

“At the same time, I’m excited for the future. Our returning players have laid a foundation for future success, and they will continue to work really hard to get better. I’m excited to get back into the gym with them.