The window has been cracked.
On an off day, the Fallon girls basketball team were the benefactors of Lowry’s 44-42 Northern Division I-A win over Spring Creek on Tuesday.
With Lowry’s upset victory, Fallon and Elko are tied atop the league standings with this weekend’s massive showdowns on the horizon.
A pair of wins and Fallon controls its path the No. 1 seed. A pair of losses leaves the Lady Wave fighting for the No. 2-4 spots. A split, meanwhile, means a tiebreaker scenario may determine playoff seeding.
The Lady Wave (7-1 league, 10-7 overall) visits the Spartans (6-2, 10-10) at 6 p.m. today and play at Elko at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“We’ve watched a lot of film from the last time we played,” Fallon coach Anne Smith said. “The noticeable thing was turnovers. We got to take care of the ball and control the boards.”
Fallon’s first matchup against the Spartans saw the Lady Wave commit more than 20 turnovers, however, Spring Creek missed numerous open shots and fell into foul trouble in the post.
Smith, though, is not anticipating another performance from both teams but emphasized her club must continue to be aggressive, box out and breaking the press. In other words, business as usual.
Offensively, though, Fallon has opened up its options. Gabby Sharpe and Ali Tedford provide outside threats, while Hannah Lindsay, Megan McCormick and Shelby Smith provide the mid-range and inside games.
“Some nights Megs (McCormick) is hot for us, some nights it’s Hannah,” Anne Smith said. “Every girl has the potential and has, in the first part of the season, been the high point for us.”
Injuries, however, are a concern for the Spartans.
According to the Elko Daily Free Press, Spring Creek must replace guard Abby Estes, who suffered a leg injury in the loss to Lowry and may miss the game. In addition, guard Serima Thompson may appear in her first game since suffering a head injury Jan. 10 against Truckee, although she has not been medically cleared as of Wednesday.
“It’s a solid program and we are playing up there, so they have that in their favor,” Smith said. “They are also well coached.”
As for Elko, the third-year coach said the game plan is the same. Crash the boards, break the press and avoid turnovers.
In the December matchup, Elko took advantage of 26 turnovers for a 10-point victory. Coming off an expected tough game at Spring Creek also gives the Lady Wave their toughest two-game stretch of the season.
Smith, though, looks at that fact as a way to prepare for the postseason, where a two-day tournament is required to capture a regional title.
“We focus so strongly on not overlooking anyone,” Anne Smith said. “It’s hard to focus on a good team like Spring Creek and then turn around and play Elko with no preparation. It’s good training.”
The boys, meanwhile, now sit in a three-way tie with Dayton and Spring Creek at 4-4 for the No. 4 seed. Spring Creek was hammered by Lowry, 60-39, on Tuesday.
With a win on Friday at Spring Creek, Fallon will own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Spartans, which may be beneficial by the end of the regular season.
The Wave will rely on 6-foot-5 Jeff Evett, who leads the club in scoring and is one of the top players in the league.