RENO — Over the past two years Fallon and Lowry developed such a tight bond that very few secrets remained between the two Northern 3A girls' basketball teams.
The familiarity paid off again for the Lady Wave as Fallon clinched its second consecutive state 3A girls title Saturday at the Lawlor Events Center, 60-45, its fifth consecutive victory against Lowry.
During the regular season, Fallon swept the series, and then rolled over the Lady Bucks 66-40 in the Northern 3A Regional championship.
Notwithstanding, the Lady Wave clinched its first Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association state basketball championship in 2017 — the first since the 1920s when Fallon captured 10 titles — by defeating their Humboldt County rival, 54-38, at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion.
The Lady Wave struggled in the first quarter as they did the previous night against Virgin Valley, leading by only 1 point, 11-10, going into the second quarter.
Coach Anne Smith said her team was tight and cautious, but as the game progresses, the girls fell into their rhythm.
Both teams couldn’t score a point for the first 2:03 of the second period until the Greenwave’s offense began to loosen up.
Leta Otuafi ignited the offense on a one-handed layup, but she was fouled.
After making two free throws, Fallon padded its lead to 13-10.
Otuafi also put back a missed layup with 4:31 left in the first half, and Fallon’s trapping caused a turnover, eventually leading to another basket from Otuafi, and a 17-10 lead.
Lowry didn’t score a basket until 2:48 left in the quarter on a short shot from Kylie Sappington. Fallon responded quickly on Faith Cornmesser’s perfectly executed left-handed hook.
Fallon and Lowry traded baskets, but an arcing 3-pointer from Sydney Conner as time expired narrowed the lead to 27-23.
Both teams’ grit under the basket led to an action-packed third quarter, but Fallon pulled away for a 43-34 lead.
Leta Otuafi, who finished the game with 30 points, made her presence known on both sides of the court with her ball handing and shooting down the middle, and her control of the boards with Cornmesser. Otuafi zeroed in from all sides of the court, hitting a long shot from the corner, and then powering in for several layups.
Fallon began to pull away in the fourth quarter. Caitlyn Welch launched a trey from the left corner to give the Wave its biggest lead at the time, 53-36, with 5:22 remaining in the game. Less than a minute later, Leta Otuafi stepped to the outside where Welch previously nailed her shot and dropped a 3-pointer for a 17-point lead.
Both teams cleared their benches during the last 2 minutes.