ELKO — Well, it took all of 36 minutes.
After four quarters of play, the Elko girls basketball team needed another four minutes of shorthanded ball and some big plays for an overtime victory Saturday against Fallon, at Centennial Gymnasium.
With the score gridlocked at 53-all in OT, Elko senior Katie Ross glanced at the scoreboard with 13 ticks remaining, drove baseline from the corner and dropped the game-winning bucket on the right block — lifting the Lady Indians to a 55-53 victory.
Fallon lost the night before to Spring Creek and finishes the regular season at home this week with contests against Lowry on Tuesday and Dayton on Friday. Fallon clinched a playoff berth and will be the No. 6 seed in the regional tournament next week in Fallon.
“Our goal was to continue to get better. We competed well against Fernley, played spring creek with their entire roster bac and we took Elko into overtime,” Fallon coach Kevin Wickware said. “We had opportunities to win the game. Our girls are just working hard and you’re seeing the improvement the whole year.”
At the 1:01 mark, the second Lady Indian fouled out of the contest — placing Elko in an uphill climb.
Aisha Sharron opened a 45-42 lead with a pair of free throws — scoring seven points in the period — but Aurora Eklund canned a clutch set of shots at the stripe for the Lady Indians.
Fallon turned the ball over with a costly travel, and Aurora Eklund made another huge play for Elko — taking the ball the bucket and burying and And-1 between a pair of Fallon defenders. She drilled the free throw for a 47-45 lead with 22.7 seconds remaining — Madison Whitaker fouling out on the play.
However, the Lady Indians gave up an offensive rebound from a long two-point attempt on the left side, the ball collected on the weak side by senior Karlee Hitchcock — whose first bucket of the game was the biggest of the contest.
Hitchcock’s follow-up finish on the right block tied the score at 47-all with four seconds remaining, forcing overtime.
In the extra frame, Hitchcock pushed the Lady Wave to a 49-47 lead with her second field goal — Aurora Eklund hitting one free throw for the Lady Indians.
Hitchcock went 1-for-2 at the line for Fallon, Morrell doing the same for the Lady Indians.
Elko took a 51-49 lead on an inbound deuce from Nielsen, scoring on the right block.
The Lady Indians got a stop and passed down the floor but missed a wide-open layup with 1:27 on the clock.
Makenzee Moretto scored with a layup after a Fallon steal, and the Lady Wave took a 53-51 lead on a deuce by Sharron.
Jacaway was fouled and nailed both free throws — tying the contest at 53-all — and Aurora Eklund made a big block on a closeout at the elbow.
The Lady Indians missed a shot and Fallon took a timeout with 26 seconds on the clock, but Elko’s defense made a stop, grabbed the rebound and set the stage for a game-winning bucket.
Ross did not settle for a jumper, put the ball on the deck and worked in for the dagger along the baseline with about nine ticks remaining when the ball went through the hoop.
Fallon’s attempt to force another overtime was tipped out of bounds and off the Lady Wave, Elko coming up clutch in crunch time for a 55-53 victory.
In defeat, Moretto dropped a game-high 21 points — matching her 21 points Friday in a 52-48 loss to Spring Creek.
Ross led Elko with 14 points — none bigger than her final two — followed by 13 points from Aurora Eklund, whose old-fashioned three in the fourth turned a one-point deficit into a two-point lead.
Sharron scored nine of her 11 points after halftime for Fallon, and Jacaway neared double digits with nine points for Elko.
Morrell tied her season high with seven points, and the Lady Indians’ offense was rounded out by four points apiece for Izzy Eklund, Beatty and Nielsen.
Whitaker and Hitchcock scored five points each for Fallon — Hitchcock forcing overtime with her first points of the game —Addison Sandberg finished with four points and the Lady Wave’s scoring was closed by three points apiece for Sam Frost and Shaylee Fagg.
No. 5 Elko swept the season series and opened a 2-1/2 game lead over the No. 6 Lady Wave.
Free throws ice game for Spring Creek
Coincidentally, a team that struggled to hit free throws all night iced the game with some big makes late.
On Friday, the Spring Creek girls basketball team maintained its No. 4 spot in the 3A North standings with a hard-fought, not-always-pretty 52-48 victory over Fallon.
“I knew what we were capable of and we had to get that varsity experience under our belt,” Wickware said. “The girls are aware they can compete with every team. I’m excited for the playoffs in the direction we’re headed.”
With the score at 47-46, the Lady Spartans got a big bucket from Ryley Ricks on a runner down the lane.
Fagg drove the left side and scored for Fallon — making the score 49-48 with 35 seconds remaining — but the Lady Wave did not foul for 25 seconds.
With 9.2 ticks remaining, Ricks went to the line and hit the back end of her free throws for a 50-48 lead.
Fallon crossed midcourt and took a timeout with 5.8 seconds remaining.
On the inbound, Emma Campbell jumped a passing lane and tipped the ball and was pushed from behind — earning a trip to the line.
She calmly drilled both shots and iced the contest, 52-48.
In defeat, Moretto dropped a game-high 21 points — Whitaker following with 18 points and sinking three 3s.
Spring Creek was led by 16 points from Kylee Dimick, followed by eight points apiece from Campbell and Walz.
Fagg finished with points for the Lady Greenwave, Sharron and Hitchcock chipped in a deuce apiece — Fallon’s offense rounded out by a free throw from Sandberg.