The Greenwave boys’ basketball team suffered an emotional loss at home Tuesday, falling to the Sparks Railroaders on senior night.
After an intense second half, the game ended 73-59, marking Sparks’ first league win of the season.
The game started well for Fallon. The Greenwave opened an eight-point lead before Sparks got on the board. While the Railroaders pushed back, Fallon maintained its lead. As the clock wound down, a three-pointer by Sparks’ James Bates closed the gap to five points before a final basket by Christian Nemeth opened it to 20-13.
Sparks rallied in the second quarter. They outpaced Fallon and narrowed the lead thanks to two treys from Matthew Longland. The teams entered a stalemate as they exchanged one-point leads. In the final moments of the half, Sparks tied the game at 31. As the final seconds ticked off, though, Gustavo Aguilar scored and pushed the Railroaders ahead 33-31.
After halftime Fallon fought to regain the lead. Sparks was reinvigorated, though, and gained ground thanks to strong rebounds and three treys. By the end of the quarter, Sparks had opened to 52-40.
The Railroaders pounded a brutal offense in the final quarter. Fallon was overwhelmed on rebounding steals; the players struggled to get the ball in the basket. Fallon coach Brad Barton recalled it got emotional for them and with two minutes left, senior Dalton Kaady was ejected from the game for two technical fouls.
“He was a little bit frustrated because he really wanted to win really bad,” Barton said. “He’s a fierce competitor.”
The Greenwave inched forward, scoring a point at a time on free throws. It was not enough, though, and with a final three-pointer from Blake Malkovich, the game ended with Fallon losing by 14 points.
“We started off really hot, then proceeded to get cold the rest of the game,” Barton said.
Kaady led the Greenwave with 19 points with three three-pointers. Nemeth followed with 12 points and two treys and Elijah Jackson tallied 11. Smith made five rebounds while Kaady, Nemeth and John Cooley had three.
Barton said he felt they gave over too many offensive possessions. He recalled Fallon would make a shot, but Sparks would grab the ball and race to their side to score, then get the rebound for another basket. He said it’s hard to win when a team is shooting really well and getting lots of possessions.
Barton said Kaady and Smith, the team’s other senior, have shown great leadership this season; both have played basketball for four years and varsity for two. Barton said they are great players who have a bright future ahead of them.
“I can’t wait to see what they do with their lives and it’s been an honor to coach them both,” he said. “I guarantee those two are going to be two good men.”
He also commended Sparks for its game plan and shooting. He said you couldn’t help but praise a team when it does so well.