A big fourth quarter propelled the Lady Wave basketball team to its fourth win over a 4A opponent.
Fallon pumped in 20 points in the final frame to come from behind to knock off last year’s 4A state finalist, Manogue, 60-53, Saturday afternoon at the private Reno school.
“To come into Bishop Manogue on their home court, as good as they are, to upset them here, that’s huge,” Fallon coach Anne Smith said. “The girls don’t feel like they played to their potential either. They felt like they could have been better. Still, to be able to do that is pretty impressive.”
Lani Otuafi led the team with 18 points and Faith Cornmesser added 13 for Fallon, which is now 4-1 against the 4A with the lone loss coming at Reno in the second game of the season. Leta Otuafi and Caitlyn Welch each scored 10 points, with nine of Welch’s total coming from behind the arc.
“We didn’t rush our shots,” Smith said of the difference between winning the Manogue game and the Reno loss. “We took time to work the ball around to get an inside out. We felt like there was a little bit of mismatch on Lani defensively so we set her up inside. We rebounded the ball better.”
Fallon had problems early defending Manogue off the dribble, which allowed the Lady Miners to line up for 3-pointers. Manogue nailed five treys in the first quarter but Fallon’s defense adjusted, limiting the hosts to only one 3-pointer the rest of the day.
“We did great as a team,” said Welch, who was key in the 3-point defense. “It feels great because it’s a huge accomplishment knowing they played in the state championship last year. It’s just great to know we can hang with them and beat the 4A teams.”
Kenna Holt led the Miners with 13 points, Julie McElwee scored nine and Ameerah McCloud had seven.
“If they can beat Manogue, they can beat anybody. Manogue is still good,” Smith said. “They move the ball so well on that dribble drive and handoff. That’s hard to defend. They shoot well behind the three-point line. In the end, we did enough to get it done.”
The win adds another boost of confidence that Fallon can compete with the region’s best, which Welch hopes will prepare the Lady Wave when it hosts Lowry in two weeks. Fallon defeated Lowry in both the regional and state tournament title games last season.
“It helps us prepare for them. It shows us what we need to work on and prepare for against Lowry,” Welch said, citing the press break being one of the top focuses against the Lady Buckaroos.
On Friday, the Lady Wave dominated Truckee’s Lady Wolverines 61-29.
Fallon was dominant from the start. Leta Otuafi opened with a three-pointer, followed by baskets from Welch and Lani Otuafi. About halfway through the quarter, the second team players entered the gams as the Green Wave lead 25-4 after the first quarter.
Smith said the starters did a good job getting to a solid lead.
“That’s great for that second team to be able to keep that. I was proud of them,” she said.
In the second quarter, Fallon maintained its lead going into halftime with a 37-14 lead.
Fallon extended its lead in the third quarter, holding Truckee to just two points. Fallon, meanwhile, scored 15. For Fallon, everyone on the team scored. Lani Otuafi and Leta Otuafi led the team in scoring with 10 and 9 respectively. Just behind them was Welch with 8 points on two three-pointers.
Defensively, Hannah Evans was a leader with seven rebounds. Hannah Hitchcock was another strong defender with four rebounds.
Lani Otuafi said she was glad they scored enough of a lead for the second team to get some floor time. She said Smith wanted everyone to get time in the game and for everyone to score.
Smith said the defense was a little sloppy in places and it was something they would have to work on. She said they could have been stronger at the end.
Fallon is off until next weekend when it plays in the West Coast Jamboree in the Bay Area. The Lady Wave travels to face Fernley on Jan. 2 before returning home on Jan. 6 for a pivotal contest against Lowry.