After picking up its first league win of the season, the Lady Wave basketball team dominated North Valleys, 63-24, on Saturday at the Elmo Dericco Gymnasium.
Fallon, the two-time defending state champ, faces an early test this week with three-straight league road games, beginning with South Tahoe on Tuesday. The Lady Wave visits Elko County this weekend to face Spring Creek and Elko.
Senior Chandler McAlexander led all scorers against North Valleys with 15 points as Fallon improved to 2-0 in the 3A. Leta Otuafi scored 14 points, Leilani Otuafi had 12 and Makenzee Moretto added 10 to give the Lady Wave four scorers in double figures.
“Chandler ran the floor so well. On those little missed fastbreaks, she was there to clean it up,” Fallon coach Anne Smith said.
Much like the three previous regular seasons when Fallon didn’t falter against the 3A, the opening week of the new league season provided Smith with an opportunity to work in her bench and gain experience. Smith praised her newcomers, including Moretto, Kinsli Rogne, Karlee Hitchcock and Emily Wright.
“It’s one thing to come up from a JV team to the varsity level. There’s a difference between the two levels of play,” Smith said. “It’s another thing to come up to a team with Lani and Leta because they play at a higher level. They did a great job. They need more experience in games and running with the girls who are returners.”
With the game in hand, Smith tried out a new defense, which stifled the Panthers, who are playing in the 3A for the first time after spending more than a decade in the 4A.
“You try to work on things,” Smith said. “I told them that you can’t rest on defense. If we have to rest on offense, we’ll run a pattern. We just tried to keep the defensive pressure.”
The Lady Wave won their league opener Tuesday with a resounding 57-35 win over Truckee at the Elmo Dericco Gym.
After scoring the game’s first points on a free throw, the Wave fell behind when Truckee’s Elena Friedman struck with a 3-pointer. Fallon then rattled off eight consecutive points aided by Leilani Otuafi’s two baskets and a pair of free throws.
The Wave pressured Truckee on defense, trapping the Wolverines on the sidelines and also implementing a full-court press.
The Wave increased its lead to 18-7 at the end of the first quarter. McAlexander and Kenna Hamlin each had a basket for the Wave as did Leta Otuafi.
Truckee kept Fallon to seven points in the second quarter as the Wave substituted freely. Lena Otuafi had four points, and Hamlin added a layup.
Fallon began the third quarter with a flourish, scoring the first eight points. McAlexander boxed out Truckee under the basket for a put back off a rebound and also made a layup. Karlee Hitchcock also scored her first bucket of the game.
Friedman nailed another trey for Truckee, but during the quarter’s final seconds, Leta Otuafi made a one-handed layup.
Fallon outscored Truckee 16-9 in the final quarter.
Moretto, who finished the game with 10 points, had a pair of layups and also a putback basket.
Leilani Otuafi led all scorers with 21 points, and Lena Otuafi added 15.
Steve Ranson contributed to this story.