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The Cuyahoga Falls High School girls basketball team ended the regular season with a pair of losses, but the Lady Black Tigers are hoping to regain momentum at the start of the upcoming postseason tournament.
Falls battled Suburban League American Division opponent Tallmadge at home Feb. 11. The visitors handed the Lady Black Tigers a 54-46 defeat on Senior Day.
Tallmadge surged to a 16-9 lead in the first quarter, and the Lady Blue Devils were on top 29-13 at intermission. Cuyahoga Falls made a spirited comeback in the second half, but fell short.
Junior Kayla Huffman led the Lady Black Tigers offensively with 18 points, while senior Bailee Brooks was also in double digits with 11 points. In addition, freshman Chelsea Huffman scored nine points, junior De'Vine Shelton produced four points and juniors Leslie Sawyer and Hannah Merten both contributed two markers. Emma Freeman, the team's other senior, pulled down seven rebounds.
With the win, Tallmadge improved its overall record to 17-4.
On Feb. 15, Falls played its final game of the regular season against Suburban League National Division rival Twinsburg. The Lady Tigers tamed the visiting Lady Black Tigers by the score of 49-23.
"It was a rough way to end the regular season," said Falls head coach Joe Nowak. "Twinsburg earned a share of the National Division title."
Only three players scored for Cuyahoga Falls. Kayla Huffman reached double figures with 10 points, while Brooks scored nine points and Shelton contributed four markers.
According to Nowak, Twinsburg established the tempo and style of play. That was instrumental in the Lady Tigers' success in taking control of the ballgame.
"They did a good job from the get-go of having an aggressive mindset," said Nowak. "They took us out of what we wanted to do. They start four seniors, so they understand what they're trying to accomplish."
After a slow start, Cuyahoga Falls did play better in the second half. However, it wasn't enough to overcome an early deficit.
"In the first half, we struggled to get anything going," said Nowak. "In the second half, we did a better job of running our offensive sets. That was a positive for us. We just have to find ways to more effectively counter aggressive pressure that we see defensively. We'll learn from it and bounce back. It's just tough when you're in the moment and you're trying to combat it."
Cuyahoga Falls finished the regular season with an overall record of 11-11. The Lady Black Tigers also finished 4-10 in the National Division. Falls won five games overall last season.
"We more than doubled our win total of a year ago," said Nowak. "I told the girls that I hope they're proud of being able to go from five wins to 11 wins. That's a credit to their hard work and commitment."
The Division I district tournament draw took place Feb. 5. As a result of that draw, Cuyahoga Falls will host Brunswick at 7 p.m. Feb. 18. Results of the game were not available at press time.
The winner of that game will advance to play Wooster Feb. 23 at 7 p.m.