The Greenwave varsity basketball team will have their first conference match against Lowry coming up soon since their appearance at the Legacy Tip Off Classic in Reno on Thursday.
This year is Brad Barton’s third year as varsity head coach.
“Well a lot of these kids were young basketball players of mine because they were good enough to be varsity,” Barton said. “I’ve been watching them develop over the course of four years now. I’ve been in the program as the freshmen and JV coach before that so I’ve coached a lot of these kids already, and I’m excited to see some of them at their peak, especially these senior boys.”
Among the seniors on the team is Connor Richardson, who has been varsity since his freshman year and was well known for winning the state championship y quarterbacking the varsity football team.
“Connor has been a varsity basketball player for four years now so it’s finally his show as a senior now,” Barton said, “He’s developed a lot of leadership skills as a football player that should carry over to his basketball. I’m excited to finally see all that come together for him this year.”
Also in the senior crew this year is Clay Davidson, a 6-foot &-inch force for Fallon who Barton has been keeping his eye on.
“I think it’s nice to have a little bit of size in the post as well as a big guy who can shoot, that’s Clay Davidson,” he said. “He’s been playing varsity basketball for three years so he does a lot for our team. He can rebound, he can shoot, he can play inside, and he’s been in our program long enough to understand our system and he helps those younger kids learn to play.”
Despite the senior cast, Barton said one the best basketball players the Wave has this year is Dylan Ridenour, a junior in his second year with the varsity team.
“It’s nice having a guy like that who can handle the basketball in terms of dribbling and attack the rim whenever he wants to and for an undersized player he can really jump out and attack the gym too,” Barton said. “He’s another player who really understands our system so he should be an exciting player to watch this year. He’s going to shine now as a junior, and next year as a senior he’s going to be outstanding.”
Barton said he believes Fallon has progressed every year since he has taken over the program. The Wave made it to the playoffs for the first time iin several seasons in his first year as the coach, and last year the team also finished with a better record and made it to the playoffs again.
Barton expects no less this year.
“Well the good news is the kids now expect to be there,” he said. “They expect to win basketball games. So the attitude of the team is changing a little bit when they walk on the court they feel like they can actually win. These boys that have been playing a long time, they’ve come so close to states but now as a seniors I think they’re finally going to be able to jump over that hump and get us there.”
When asked what he has being trying to improve on mechanically, Barton said that as a new coach, it’s taken a little while to get the Wave’s system in place, but that the boys are finally starting to get their style.
“If we can find a couple of kids who are confident from the outside and start shooting from there a little better we should be able to do some damage in league,” he said.
Barton said, on next Tuesday’s game, that Lowry’s program is outstanding,under the guidance of head coach Chad Peterson, among the teams that got the better of Fallon in the past years.
“We’ve been young, but this year I think we should be able to compete with them,” he said. “But they’re always going to be one of the top two teams in the league and this year they’re pretty solid, so this first game will determine where we’re at and where we’re going to stand in the league. So we’ll see how things shake out in our very first game of the season.”
Besides Lowry, Barton said Elko has been the powerhouse in the D1-A program until this year since last year’s “outstanding” senior class graduated.
“The year before they were just as good as juniors,” he said, “and they had five starting freshmen four years ago in varsity and they finally graduated last year. So Elko as a powerhouse isn’t really in the picture anymore, which leaves the league wide open for someone to come in and take first place. We’re hoping to be that team.”
“I’m super excited about the direction that basketball is heading in in Fallon,” Barton said. “Our youth program has really developed into a great thing, and Paul Harmon has done a really great job with that program. The fact that we’re getting a second gym now at our school to help us out, I think basketball is heading in the right direction, and I hope and anticipate that in the next two or three years that we’ll be on the same level as Fallon football and be coming ready for a state championship every year.
Guards include Marshall Coverston , senior; Terry (TJ) Fagg , junior; Cade Vercellotti, junior; and Dalton Kaady, junior.
Forwards are Tomas Diaz, senior; Dylan Rassmussen, junior, Taylon Cordes, senior; and Craig “Nick” Smith, junior. Centers are Braxton Hunter, senior; and Kaleeri Rickerson, senior.