Fallon takes on rivals

One game at a time.

It is the approach of the Fallon girls basketball team, as the Lady Wave take on two of their toughest opponents this season.

Fallon (2-2) hosts Northern Division I-A foes Spring Creek (2-2) at 6 p.m. today and Elko (2-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday. Both games are at the Elmo Dericco Gym.

Fallon, coming off an up-and-down showing at the Reno Winter Challenge last week, shoots for a strong start to league play.

But today’s matchup against Spring Creek brings back memories of the heartbreaking 54-53 playoff loss to the Spartans last year. Spring Creek rode the win into the state tournament, but lost, 49-40, to Faith Lutheran.

While the memory is in tact, Fallon coach Anne Smith said her club will use it for motivation, but the Lady Wave have more pressing concerns than reliving the past.

“Those returners have a little bur under their saddles,” Smith said. “The crazy thing about this weekend is we can’t just focus on Spring Creek. We can’t put all of our eggs in one basket.”

With such a quick start into league play, Smith said it is critical for her club to get at least one win. Fallon, Elko and Spring Creek are three of the league’s top teams and an early 0-2 record in league play will be a tough hole to climb out.

“It’s huge,” Smith said. “Nobody wants to start 0-2. It’s tough because nobody wants to start off their league schedule with Spring Creek and Elko. However, that being said, they have to open with us.”

On the court, Fallon is led by a trio of upperclassmen. Guards Ali Tedford and Gabby Sharpe anchor the backcourt, while center Hannah Lindsay holds down the post.

Sharpe leads the team with 8.3 points per game and is averaging four rebounds and 2.7 assists. Tedford leads the club with 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals and averages 7.3 points and 4.3 rebounds. Lindsay, meanwhile, is second in scoring (8.0 ppg) and leads the club with seven rebounds per game.

As a team, the Lady Wave are shooting 34 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range but only 41 percent from the free-throw line.

For the Spartans, Maddy Merschel averages a double-double (12.8 ppg, 11 rpg), while Serima Thomson chips in with 8.5 points and 4.5 steals and Shawntel Anderson adds 7.3 points and 5.8 rebounds.

“We know there’s going to be a lot of pressure on the ball,” Smith said. “Turnovers are going to be key. If we turn the ball over, like sometimes we do, there is a high percentage chance we won’t win. We have to take care of the ball.”

Despite spotty ball handling at last week’s tournament, the Lady Wave were able to rally for a pair of victories and were consistent with their perimeter shooting.

“We need to pressure the ball and create turnovers,” Smith said. “We need to attack the ball and capitalize on their turnovers.”

Elko, meanwhile, is also coming off a state appearance from last season.

Desirea Danner is the Indians workhorse averaging 12.5 points and five steals, while Shayla Butterfield adds 10 points and eight boards per game.

“I expect to see the same things from Elko as with Spring Creek,” Smith said. “If we don’t take care of the ball we will lose to both teams.”


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