8 seniors lead Lady Wave hoops into new season

Fallon opens with South Tahoe, Hawthorne tournament

Fallon senior Zoey Lingenfelter passes to senior Sadoni Downs during Saturday’s scrimmage against Douglas.

Fallon senior Zoey Lingenfelter passes to senior Sadoni Downs during Saturday’s scrimmage against Douglas.
Photo by Thomas Ranson.

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The girls were getting used to the new system just in time for the playoffs before an early exit in the regional tournament.
Kevin Wickware was excited to see what the incoming senior group could do with a year under its belt. But then the pandemic happened and canceled the 2020-21 basketball season.

This year’s basketball team, although short on varsity experience, is led by an eight-member senior class with hopes to restore Fallon’s success that ended last decade with three-straight state titles.

Fallon’s faithful will get its first look at the Lady Wave when it entertains South Tahoe today at 6 p.m. at the Elmo Dericco Gymnasium — the first home game since February 2020 when Lowry ended Fallon’s season in the quarterfinals of the regional tournament. Fallon travels to Mineral County for a three-day tournament this weekend before jumping back into 3A crossover play.

Thomas Ranson/NNG
Fallon coach Kevin Wickware talks to his team during a timeout in Saturday’s scrimmage.


Wickware’s program scrimmaged several teams last week, including Douglas twice, in addition to the players getting reps earlier this year with the travel team.

“They’ve been going well,” Wickware said of the scrimmages. “Douglas is a really good team. It’s what we needed. We needed a lot of experience. We learned that Douglas is going to be a really good team. We needed to see that (physicality) and learn that mentality when playing high school basketball. It translated well to the last game of the day. That’s what we wanted to see.”

The senior class includes Cassie Edgmon, Hudsyn Clark, Trinity Helton, Addie Smith, Zoey Lingenfelter, Shaylee Coldwell, Sydney Jarrett and Sadoni Downs.

“Having this many seniors does definitely help,” Wickware said of his core group. “Like most kids, they have to learn first. They’re committed to what we want to do. They’re also really good friends. That helps too. With only the two underclassmen and a junior, it’s an interesting dynamic this year.”

The rest of the team includes junior Liliana Bettencourt and sophomores Ava Faught and Zoey Jarrett.

“We’re very limited on our varsity experience, even less than when I took over for Anne (Smith),” said Wickware, who’s assisted by Eric Bickel and Mike Bearney. Darby Rowe is coaching the junior varsity and Wiliam Wallace is leading the freshman team.

The experience from playing during the travel season was necessary but Wickware said the high school environment is different.

“It’s good that we got court time because we had the whole year canceled. You can’t compare the high school season. It’s just a different environment. Most of the time in those tournaments, you’re seeing collection teams. We just tried to get as many people court time as possible.”

What the team lacks with high school varsity experience, Wickware’s goal is for the team to continue building on its family approach. The rest will fall into place.

“It’s a different dynamic with the group but the same approach we’re taking (in the previous season),” he said. “We’re trying to build that team cohesive and family environment to go with what we’re doing. We’re making sure we’re team-oriented first. We’re taking that blue collar approach to basketball, focusing on the little details in the game that will help us in having that outstanding basketball player.”

After a week’s worth of scrimmages, Wickware said the team is where he expected as it opens the season this week. The defense played better than expected but the offense needs more time to gel and get into rhythm. Wickware expects the offense to function at a high speed this season.

“We are doing an uptempo approach this year,” he added. “Our foot is on the gas until the end of the game. There is no rest. There are no breaks.”

So far, the team’s bought in and is putting in the time to get it right.

“Our girls are willing to work hard. That’s a step in the right direction we want,” said Wickware, whose team will also need to test weekly for COVID due to the NIAA requirement with basketball classified as a high-risk sport. “Once we are able to accomplish that, then the other stuff is easy.”

After this weekend, Fallon jumps back into crossover action with the 3A West. Fallon will play each team only once, which means the value of the game is even more important. The games count as two points in the standings because when Fallon gets into 3A East action, it will face those opponents twice.

“It does put value on the first half of the season when it was normally tournaments and scheduled games you found,” Wickware said. “We have to treat them as important because you need those wins. That was another reason why we took that Hawthorne tournament because it offers five games.”

Most of the teams in the league will be tough to figure out because of the canceled season. However, Wickware said Lowry and Elko should be strong, and Spring Creek has been a consistently good program. Fernley and Dayton are also expected to present challenges.

“The only thing I can do is look and see what names show up from a couple years ago,” Wickware said. “The East is a difficult league to be in. You’re going to have good games every night.”


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