Fallon’s weapons on both offense and defense demolished Dayton and Lowry last week to give the Greenwave boys basketball team sole possession of first place and the Northern 3A regular season championship.
The top team in the Northern 3A walloped Dayton Friday night at the Elmo Dericco Gym, 76-34, but clinched the league title earlier in the week against Lowry.
The point total was the second highest of the year for the Wave, which receives a bye in the first round for the regional tournament that begins Thursday at the Elmo Dericco Gym.
Fallon and second-place Elko will receive byes and play Friday. If both teams win, then that sets up a repeat game on Saturday between the Wave and Indians. Elko defeated Fallon in 2019 for the league championship before the Greenwave’s stunner to knock Elko off in the state championship game.
Fallon plays the winner of South Tahoe and Fernley on Friday at 8 p.m., and Elko faces the winner of Lowry and Dayton at 4:40 p.m.
The “Man of Steele” pushed Fallon, 19-3 overall and 17-1 in league, to the lopsided win over the Dust Devils (9-13, 8-10). The 6-foot, 4-inch Steele pumped in 10 of his 18 points in the first quarter to give Fallon an 16-6 lead.
Steele, along with Avery Strasdin and Toby Anderson, dominated the inside game with height and power, and the display of might continued into the second quarter. Steele used the glass for layup, while Strasdin, who finished the game with 15 points connected on a floater and a layup off a steal. Faced with double- and triple-teaming from Dayton, Elijah Jackson drained the first trey of the game as the Wave padded its lead.
Fallon coach Chelle Dalager began to rotate her subs into the game midway through the second quarter, but Fallon didn’t slow down, outscoring Dayton 8-5. Shaw Lee split the Dayton defense with a good move down center court, and Strasdin hit a long 3.
Dalager, though, said Fallon played a better second half against Lowry and Dayton.
“We were running the offense and ball better,” she said of the team effort. “We really have to play that type of basketball, not one on five. In the second half, we moved the ball around a lot better.”
The Dust Devils’ Sunny Rojas and Broc Strong managed to beat the Fallon defense with a pair of 3-pointers.
A 26-8 third quarter pushed Fallon to a 63-24 lead with a running clock.
Brock Richardson’s right-side 3-pointer, Strasdin’s layup and Steele’s put back overwhelmed Dayton within the first 1:34 of the third quarter. Strong swished his second 3-pointer of the night for Dayton, and Rojas and Keerat Bhullar each added a basket, the last for the visitors in the quarter, and Fallon rolled on a 15-0 run for a 63-24 lead.
The Wave spread around the scoring with Anderson and Nic Springfield each sinking a pair of free throws, and Steele scored two more baskets. Steele and Strasdin each scored six points in the quarter for Fallon, and Jackson added five.
The Wave outshot Dayton in the final quarter, 13-10 with Shaw and Samuel Robertson each scoring four points and Colin Brun with three. Springfield added two points.
“Shaw does very well,” Dalager said. “He studies the game and watches a lot of film.”
Lowry (17-7, 14-4) may have won the tip in Tuesday’s game, but Fallon scored the game’s first five points and never trailed in a 68-46 win on the Greenwave court.
Anderson and Steele began Fallon’s night with a basket each, and Fallon used its weapons again to lead 17-9 going into the second quarter.
Robertson came off he bench and launched his first 3-poiter from the top of the key with 2:53 remaining.
Kobe Stoker scored four of Lowry’s points, and Preston Snow also hit a trey from beyond the 3-point line.
Strasdin guided the Wave to a 23-16 second quarter with 10 points accented by a dunk and a falling backward jump shot, and Jackson was 6 of 7 from the free throw line and dropped in two baskets. Jackson also connected on a reverse layup with 1:09 left before halftime.
Four players scored for Lowry although Snow hit his 3-point basket early in the quarter.
An 18-11 third quarter with most points coming from the free throw line put the game out of reach.
Lowry sent Fallon to the charity stripe line 10 times, and the Wave sunk nine free throws. Strasdin was 4 of 5, and Steele dropped in 4 of 4.
With Dalager rotating players in the fourth quarter, Lowry outshot Fallon 14-10 with Anthony Hemp and Alex Ruiz each scoring five points for Lowry.
Jackson and Strasdin each had 20 points to lead Fallon, and Steele added 12 and Anderson seven.
“They are so unselfish and what they are taking and giving is making us execute well,” Dalager said. “They play for success and that makes us a better team. We do play good defense but not all the time… that will be our focus.”
Only Stoker finished the game in double figures for Lowry with 10. Nine Lowry players scored in single figures with Anthony Gildone pumping in seven.
Friday was also senior night as the team honored Jackson, Richardson, Steele and Strasdin. As juniors, they led Fallon to its first state 3A basketball title since 1971.