Wave pulls off a fourth-quarter miracle: Fallon rallies to defeat Lowry in OT, 72-68

Johnny Cooley launches a 3-pointer against Lowry.

Johnny Cooley launches a 3-pointer against Lowry.

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RENO — Down but not out and buoyed by the opposing team’s band’s playing the Rocky movie theme, the Greenwave boys basketball team fought with their backs to the ropes to their come-from-behind win in the 3A NIAA Regional Tournament.

Perhaps the Wave heard, instead, “Eye of the Tiger” pounding quietly in their minds as they punched their ticket to the state tournament for the first time in 30 years, grabbing a 72-68 win over Lowry (17-9) at North Valleys High School. Fallon plays Elko in Saturday’s 5 p.m. game for the regional title.

Fallon coach Chelle Dalager called the last nine seconds of the game a miracle.

“What they did was a miracle,” Dalager said, who was still digesting the win. “Sometimes it’s good to be lucky.”

Call it a game of miracles, especially when Fallon rallied in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime, and then controlled its own destiny by outscoring Lowry 9-4.

Johnny Cooley, who had a game-high 17 points, gave Fallon its first lead since the first quarter with a layup and also shook off a Lowry defender for a other basket that put the Wave on top, 67-64.

Lowry tied the game at 68 when Dorsey Naveran shot over Cooley’s outstretched arms to tie the game.

Fallon never trailed after that, knocking the lights out on Lowry’s upset bid.

“Our boys aren’t done yet,” she said. “We want to win that regional title.”

Elijah Jackson gyrated through Lowry’s defense in the paint for the go-ahead basket, and Cooley and Jackson, who led all scorers with 28 points, each made a free throw during the last 20seconds to secure Fallon’s four-point win.

Down 45-41 going into the final quarter of regular play, Fallon kept within Lowry’s reach … and height … in a see-saw exchange of points that maintained the Buckaroos’ slight lead. Then the Wave’s Hayden Strasdin fouled out with 2:40 left in the quarter.

But the tide changed, and so did the fight song.

Up until then, Lowry’s JJ Backus, who had been 3 of 4 from the free-throw line, missed a pair of shots. Fallon raced down the court, and cool and steady Elijah Jackson established his footing past the 3-point line and launched a basket that swished the net, cutting Lowry’s lead to 55-54.

Backus returned to the free-throw line after David McFalls committed his fourth foul, but the Lowry guard sunk his first free throw, but the second rolled in and out like a ball inside a tilted pinball machine. Fallon’s Thomas Steele responded on Fallon’s next possession by driving down the middle and making a layup to tie the score at 56.

Steele knew the game’s momentum was changing.

“We had our backs against the wall, and we showed up,” Steele said. “I have confidence in my guys, and we did what we had to do.”

Steele, though, caught a driving Oscar Juanes with his knee, sending the Bucks’ player to the charity stripe after he made his baseline shot. His free throw put Lowry on top, 59-56.

The outcome of the game became to look bleak for the Wave after Fallon committed another foul, giving Preston Snow an opportunity to pad the lead for Lowry.

Two made free throws and a 61-56 deficit faced Fallon with 26 remaining on the clock

Lowry fouled Jackson on a 3-piont attempt, but the junior forward missed the first two free throws before coach Chelle Dalager took a time out. Returning to the line, Jackson sunk the third free throw, but the Wave trailed 61-57.

Lowry continued to give Fallon gifts.

Naveran missed two free throws after being fouled. Fallon moved quickly down the floor, and Cooley missed on a wide-open 3-point shot.

Desperation began to set in. David McFalls fouled Backus, who this time sunk both free throws to tie Lowry its largest lead of the quarter, 63-57.

Fourteen seconds and time evaporating.

Jackson pulled up at the top of the key on the ensuring trip down the floor and drained a trey to sliced Lowry’s lead to 63-60.

Another Fallon foul, another Lowry gift on the other end of the floor when Kobe Stoker missed his two free throws, making him 0-for-5 down the stretch.

But the excitement intensified.

As seconds ticked away, Lowry added to its own misery with a long inbound pass down court that bounced out of bounds. Fallon got the ball back, and immediately the pass went to Jackson who missed a 3-pointer, but Cooley had a putback basket as time expired to tie the game at 63 and send it into overtime.

“I knew I got the rebound and put it back,” Cooley said. “I got the right balance, and it worked out perfectly. I don’t think they were expecting it.”

Cooley said it was definitely the most exciting play of his career, but he also credits Jackson for taking the shot, and for Rooks for sinking a previous free throw.

“That putback shot shows the hours of work he puts in the gym,” Dalager said of Cooley.

Dalager said Fallon began to take advantage of Lowry’s mistakes.

“Our defense was getting better, Lowry was fumbling the ball more,” she pointed out.

Lowry meant business for most of the game after staking the Wave to a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.

Thomas Steele opened Fallon’s scoring with a quick layup and Strasdin followed with a free throw and Jackson nailed a 15-foot jump shot. Strasdin also banked a shot to give the Wave its largest lead … at the time.

The Bucks eventually rolled to a 15-9 first-period lead aided by Stoker’s nine points, two from the baseline, another a layup after a rebound and his fourth on an uncontested reverse layup. Michael Casalez put an exclamation mark on Lowry’s scoring with a 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds remaining.

The Wave trailed by as many as six points in the second quarter but then tied the game at 22 on Jackson’s layup after four Fallon missed shots under the basket.

Stoker, who led Lowry with 18 points, broke the tie on a 5-foot jumper, and Snow blistered the Wave with the next five points on a trey from the right side and a baseline layup from the left.

Steele and Jackson scored Fallon’s final two baskets before halftime, though the Wave trailed 29-26.

“Lowry’s a good team, well coached and strong,” Dalager said. “They will be tough in the future.”


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