With Fallon leading 24-21 with less than a minute remaining in the first half of Thursday’s Northern 3A regional first-round playoff game, Lowry’s starting five decided to take the game into their own hands.
Sierra Maestrejuan sunk a pair of free throws to give the Lady Bucks a one-point lead, but then came the long bombs from each side of Fallon’s Elmo Dericco Gym.
Emily Backus arched a 3-pointer from the far side to give Lowry a 26-24 lead, and then Jovi Kuskie nailed her second 3-pointer in the first half from the opposite side with nine seconds remaining before halftime to give the Northern 3A’s third-seeded team a five-point lead.
Lowry rolled in the second half to defeat Fallon 61-40 and move on to the second round against Truckee, the No. 2 seed, in Friday’s 3 p.m. game at Churchill County High School. Lowry improves to 17-10, while Fallon dips to 12-13. The last time Lowry defeated Fallon in the postseason came in 2016, the year before Fallon captured three consecutive 3A titles.
The Lady Bucks’ defense tightened up underneath the basket and denied Fallon an easy path to the basket to start the third quarter on a 9-2 run. Fallon sent Lowry to the free throw line seven times with Maestrejuan sinking 3-of-3 and Backus perfect in two attempts. Backus also made a layup off an inbound pass.
Fallon scored only four points in the quarter, a long shot just inside the 3-point line from Madison Whitaker and a Sam Frost layup.
In a game of surges, Lowry scored seven unanswered points that included three baskets in the paint and a free throw from Kuskie. Lady Wave guard Karlee Hitchcock, one of three seniors for Fallon, committed her fifth foul to send Kuskie to the line capping a 16-4 quarter for the Buckaroos.
Lowry’s defense kept the pressure on Fallon in a 16-12 fourth quarter, but fouls led to the Wave making 4-of-8 from the free throw line, and Shaylee Fagg and Whitaker each connected on 3-pointers.
McKenzee Moretto scored 19 points against Lowry in their last game, but the Fallon senior couldn’t connect down low except for three free throws to finish the game with 11 points.
The Wave came within 14 points, 51-37, but Lowry’s McKenzi Peterson took command with six straight points, all from layups.
Fagg’s trey with 40 seconds left in the Greenwave’s season accounted for Fallon’s last basket of the 2019-20 campaign.
The Greenwave didn’t surprise Lowry like they did 10 days ago when Fallon jumped out to an 18-5 lead but had to repel a furious comeback from Lowry to take a 49-46 win.
This time, the Lady Bucks were ready and battled Fallon battled intensely during Thursday’s seesaw first quarter.
Lowry jumped out in front 8-2 ignited by Kuskie’s 3-pointer 20 seconds into the game. Peterson followed with a layup, and Backus, who led all scorers with 21 points, launched an arching all-net 3-pointer from the left side.
Fallon chipped away on Whitaker’s two free throws and Moretto’s layup from the right side. Both teams tied twice, but with less than a minute left and the scored knotted at 13, Hitchcock took a fed underneath the basket and banked a short shot off the glass. Whitaker led Fallon with 13 points, and Hitchcock struck for nine.
Lowry tallied the first five points to open the second quarter Hannah Whitted’s layup and Maestrejuan’s second attempt. Whitted’s free throw put the Lady Bucks on top, 18-15.
Fallon responded with two free throws and Moretto’s put back basket off a steal gave the Wave its second lead of the quarter. After another tie and a 24-21 lead for the Wave, Lowry closed out the first half with two free throws and two treys.
Peterson scored 17 total points for Lowry, and Kuskie and Maestrejuan each had nine.