Fallon teams gear toward playoff push

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It’s time to start paying attention to those standings.

The winter sports season is closing in on the postseason tournaments, with the Greenwave wrestling team one week away from competing in the Division I-A duals before hosting the regional tournament over Presidents’ Day Weekend. Both basketball squads are entering the homestretch, as well, as they started the second half of their schedule last weekend when Lowry visited the Lahontan Valley.

Playoffs begin in three weeks.

The story of the season thus far has been the Lady Wave basketball team, which hasn’t lost a game this season. Anne Smith’s squad, which has only two seniors, have won all its games by double digits and have knocked off several Division I schools in the process. Sitting in first place with an 11-0 league record, Fallon has relied on a stingy defense and pressure that have frustrated opponents.

Following Fallon in the race for the top seed are Elko (8-1), Lowry (7-3), Spring Creek and Truckee (each 4-5), Fernley (4-6) and South Tahoe (3-5). Only the top six advance to the single-elimination regional tournament, while the top two teams receive a bye and need to win once to punch a ticket to the state tournament.

The regionals will be at North Valleys High School on Feb. 19-20. State is the following weekend at Reno High School and Lawlor Events Center. Although Fallon still has everyone but Fernley, Lowry and South Tahoe left on the schedule, it has been dominating opponents in all facets. The Lady Wave is averaging 57 points per game while holding the opposition to 33 points per game.

Three players are averaging double figures in points scored with Leilani Otuafi leading the team with 14.2 per game, followed by Megan McCormick, 12.6, and Leta Otuafi, 11.8. All three are among the team leaders in rebounding along with Faith Cornmesser, who is tops with a 7.9 average.

On the boys side, Fallon has a tougher road to the playoffs. Brad Barton’s Greenwave finished the first half of the season with a 4-4 record in Division I-A play but is fighting with Sparks for the final playoff berth.

Fallon (5-6) has dropped two of its last three and sits in sixth, the final seed to make the tournament, but is within striking distance of rival Fernley (6-4) and South Tahoe (6-3). Elko is perfect in the division at 9-0, followed by Lowry (9-1), South Tahoe, Fernley and Fallon.

Playing without several key players from the first half of the season, Fallon has been relying on seniors Dillan Rasmussen, Kaleel Rickerson and Taylon Cordes, and juniors Cade Vercelotti and Dylan Ridenour who recently returned to play after sitting out on an injured ankle.

Fallon’s next two games are on the road as the Wave travels to Dayton tonight and Sparks on Tuesday. The Tuesday match-up will be pivotal for Fallon to create separation from the Railroaders before it returns home to face Elko, Spring Creek and Truckee.

Like the girls, the boys regional and state tournaments are formatted the same with the regional at North Valleys after the first round and then at Reno and Lawlor for state.

On the wrestling mat, the Division I-A appears to be wide open, which is a rarity as Lowry was very dominant until last season when it was dethroned at state.

Fallon, Lowry, Spring Creek and Fernley have looked strong in the weekend tournaments leading up to the league duals next week. In Trevor de Braga’s first season at the helm, the Greenwave showed improved efforts in several of the tournaments this year and has seen several wrestlers crowned champions on a consistent basis.

The 1-2 punch of Sam Goings and Trae Workman has been unstoppable this month as neither have lost a match. Freshman Sean McCormick has also gone undefeated with four-straight titles, and Terry White and Dylan McAfee have been consistently strong.

The Greenwave has the potential to crown five to seven champions at the regional tournament on Feb. 12-13 in Fallon before traveling to Primm for the state tournament.


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