Lady Wave takes an early lead

Kaitlyn Hunter, center, sprints under the net attempting a two pointer against Lassen.

Kaitlyn Hunter, center, sprints under the net attempting a two pointer against Lassen.

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In their first non-conference game of the season on Tuesday, the Greenwave varsity girls basketball team blazed past the Lassen Grizzlies with a 72-50 win.

The Lady Wave is 1-0 overall to begin their season and has a game against Incline today at 9 p.m.

This is Anne Smith’s fifth year as head coach of the Greenwave varsity girls basketball team.

“There’s been a lot of years we’ve had really good players come through the program,” Smith said. “Players who are committed to working hard and getting better and understand the meaning of a team and working towards a common goal. It’s been a good five years.”

Numbers are low for the Lady Wave this year, according to Smith with only nine girls, the smallest team she’s had since she started coaching.

“We’re very young with freshmen and sophomores,” Smith said. “We only have two seniors and a couple of juniors, but I think it’s a good athletic team. They seem to have gotten along well in those two weeks that we’ve started practicing, so that’s good.

“A lot of athletes come to basketball as their second or third choice to softball or soccer or volleyball, so they look at it as a way to stay in shape. But they’re athletes and they enjoy competition and pushing themselves to get better, so it’s a pleasure to have them on the team.”

The Lady Wave basketball team has made the regionals every year in those five years that Smith has been head coach and have been put out every year in the regionals.

As a result this year Smith said they are naturally hoping to make it to state against some of the tougher teams such as Winemmucca, Elko and Spring Creek. Smith said that Winnemucca has an outstanding team this year, but Fallon can’t overlook anybody.

“The whole D1-A is going to be tough this year,” she said, “and every team will be a tough opponent, so we’ll have to be ready for all of them.”

In the preseason Smith said she is focused on conditioning her players to get ready to play a full game of basketball, which was achieved against Lassen with bolstered confidence against a team the same size as the Wave.

“Since our numbers are so low, you know there’s going to be more court time for everybody so we need to get them in shape,” Smith said. “These new girls coming up have to learn our plays, our system and how we do things offensively so we have to spend time on that as well. Then defensively we’re putting in a new defense this year so that’s taking a little bit of our time. So right now we’re just working on getting everything together so we can play a game of basketball. We’re just working on the mechanics.”

In their first game against Lassen, freshman Leilani Otuafi was the leading scorer for Fallon with 20 points, followed by senior Meghan McCormick at 18 and freshman Madison Perazzo at 10. The Lady Wave had speed on their side, as well as an adeptness for several three-point shots by Otuafi that the Grizzlies would attempt to mimic and fail at due to strong zone blocking by McCormick and Zoey Smith said that she thought the game was going to be a great match in an interview beforehand, since Lassen is a shot clock team that would bring her girls up to speed, and that this non-conference game would be a good way to start the season

“They know the system, except for the defense,” Smith said of her returning players guiding her younger players. “But they know how I coach and know what I expect so of course they kind of help the younger girls, but I don’t think they’ll have a problem these younger girls coming in are very athletic, know how to accept their role and work with the team and go with it.”

In terms of improvements from the previous year, Smith said that this teams confidence was a newfound strength already.

“Confidence is big,” she said. “I noticed some of the girls we moved up last year were a little timid, a little unsure, but it seems to me this year they were not so timid about driving or taking shots or working offensively on the floor, and we need a little more of that, so that’s one improvement I’ve seen. Our two freshmen (Otfuafi and Perazzo) are very strong, add a lot of depth with quickness and speed and knowing they game, so they help a lot and as a consequence their level of play has brought up the level of play of the other girls.”

Other girls who made the roster are Kaitlyn Hunter, sophomore, guard; Stacy Kalt, sophomore, guard; Caitlyn Welch, sophomore, guard; Leta Outafi, freshman, guard/forward; and Faith Cornmesser, sophomore center/forward.

In her five years as head coach, Smith said she likes working with the girls and seeing how they change both as players and as young ladies in her time since 1998.

“Obviously, I want to see the girls improve whether they make it to state or not,” Smith said, “but I want what they want, and what they want is to go to state. They’re tired of being knocked out.”


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