After winning its first NIAA state championship last year, the Lady Wave basketball team is hoping for a repeat performance.
For the second year in a row, the Churchill County High School girls’ basketball team (16-0 in league) enters the Northern 3A Regional playoffs as No. 1 seed. Fallon’s first game is today in Elko at 6:20 p.m. against the winner of Thursday’s quarterfinal match between Fernley and Elko.
Coach Anne Smith said her players are excited.
“When they’re nervous it makes me think they’re not prepared,” Smith said. “But when they’re excited, they feel prepared and ready to go.”
During practices this week, the Wave has been going over everything and focusing on execution.
“We’ve had all season to work on this for ourselves, now it’s just making it how we want it,” said Hannah Hitchcock.
Hannah Evans said Elko was their likely opponent, noting that Fernley has lost three players going into regionals. The Wave still is preparing for both teams.
“We’re expecting that it will be Elko, but we’re preparing for either,” Evans said.
Smith said Fallon is ironing out everything and watching film of other games this season.
“We don’t know who we’re going to play, so that makes the film part a little tricky,” she said. “Not only do you have to prepare for that, you kind of have to take a guess who you’re going to see on Saturday.”
Smith said while the Lady Wave enters regionals undefeated in league play, it’s not something to focus too heavily on. She said any team still can pull the upset.
Leta Otuafi said the team has to go in with confidence and be ready to win. She said as long as they work hard and play together they’ll do well.
Otuafi said she has no preference on which team they go up against.
“It doesn’t matter who we play, it’s how we play,” she said.
Smith said she likes the mentality.
Hitchcock said Elko might be the harder opponent since regionals will be in their home gym. She said Elko’s fan base is loud and passionate, which would make them even more pumped up.
Hitchcock and Evans, both seniors, said it’s been a great season. They agreed this has been an amazing senior season and they’re proud of how everyone has played. Hitchcock added that everyone stepped up and worked hard.
Smith said she is proud of her team and honored to coach the group.
“How honored am I to walk into a gym with those 13 girls,” she said. “That’s an absolutely phenomenal feeling, to be surrounded by those 13.”