A must win.
It is the mindset for the next two weeks as the home stretch of the Northern Division I-A season begins for the Fallon boys basketball team.
The chase for the fourth playoff spot begins today at 7:30 p.m. at Dayton (5-8 league, 11-8 overall) and 3:30 p.m. Saturday against Lowry (11-1, 20-2) at the Elmo Derrico Gym. The season concludes next week with home games against Sparks (2-10, 2-17) and South Tahoe (7-6, 8-12).
“We are excited to play Dayton,” Fallon coach Brad Barton said. “We’ve been waiting for this game for a long time.”
Before the Greenwave (6-6, 7-10) can look to their future, they must take on the present, which means Dayton. The Dust Devils are also hanging on to slim hopes of securing a playoff berth after suffering a 64-49 loss to South Tahoe on Tuesday.
Fallon, meanwhile, looks to avenge a 50-47 home loss to the Dust Devils on Jan. 10. A victory puts Fallon tied with South Tahoe with Lowry looming on Saturday.
Nevertheless, the Wave will turn to leading scorer Jeff Evett (13.8 points per game) to lead the charge.
“We got to make sure we take care of business against Dayton,” Barton said. “Then again, we can’t lose focus because we have Lowry the next day. We have to play our best basketball all the way until the end. We are pretty much dialed in.”
Defensive adjustments is a focal point for the Wave, Barton said, as Austin Fletcher and Bernardo Macias lit up Fallon. Fletcher tallied 24 points, while Macias added 17 in the Dust Devils’ victory.
“We are going to find a way to lock down those scorers a little bit,” Barton said. “If we execute, we should be able to stop them from scoring.”
Lowry, meanwhile, provides another difficult challenge for the Wave. The Buckaroos blew through Fallon, 59-36, on Jan. 11 in Winnemucca.
Lowry is led by two of the league’s best players with Josh Watterson and Josh Shaver. Each reached double figures in the previous matchup.
Watterson, a 6-foot-8 forward, leads the Buckaroos with 12 points per game and 7.1 rebounds, while Naveran averages 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds.
“We matchup pretty well with them,” Barton said. “We just didn’t handle their pressure very well. We’ve been focusing on handling pressure and taking care of the basketball and have made huge improvements. If we take care of those changes we’ve made, we should be in pretty good shape against them.”