Fallon’s Jace Nelson blocks Elko’s Isiah Dahl while teammate Kanigh Snyder watches in the first half.
After a humbling setback on Friday against Elko, the Greenwave boys basketball team rebounded on Saturday against Spring Creek to stay in the race for the playoffs.
Fallon, the defending state champ from the 2019-2020 season, outscored the Spartans in every quarter to win 59-43 and split the weekend against the two Elko County schools.
Fallon improved to 3-2 in the 3A East and travels to Lowry on Friday before heading to Fernley in two weeks. Friday’s game pits both teams with similar records as the winner will get the upper hand on third place in the league standings.
In Saturday’s win, three players scored in double figures with sophomore Kanigh Snyder leading the team with 18 points. Sophomore Brady Alves scored 13 points, senior Jace Nelson added 11 and senior Tyler Austin had eight. Nelson also had 10 rebounds to complete a double-double. Alves and Nelson each led the team in steals with four, and Snyder had three assists.
While the defense wasn’t sharp, Dalager said the post players stepped up with great efforts. Nelson and Snyder, who are cousins, were strong in the paint on both sides.
“We know we can beat them with our inside game,” Dalager said.
Dalager said Alves played one of his best all-around games this season as she feels the team, which lacked experience and was compounded greatly with last season being canceled, has made strong progress.
“I feel like we are in a good place,” she said. “I am super proud of the progress our team has made this year. We are really young and lack experience. They have made great strides.”
With the addition of Wooster and Hug during the latest realignment, the Northern 3A, now split into two divisions (West and East), doesn’t include an equal number of games within each division and in cross-play.
The 3A East and West teams play each other once. Within the division, teams play each other twice. Potentially complicating the landscape is the pandemic postponing games, forcing teams to make them up before the regular season ends in three weeks.
The top team in each of the two divisions qualifies for the regional tournament in Winnemucca. The next four best teams, regardless of division, also advance. It’s possible that only one team from one division and five from the other can make the playoffs.
As of last weekend’s outcomes, Elko (8-0) from the East and South Tahoe (5-1) from the West are No. 1 in their respective divisions. The next four in are Lowry (8-2), Fernley (7-3), Fallon (6-5) and Wooster (5-3). There are six teams in each league with a total of 15 games for each team.
Dalager’s hopeful that the playoff field can expand.
“We don't yet know the exact scenario with playoffs because so much of it depends on what the other side of the division is doing and whether they allow all six teams from both sides to play,” Dalager said. “It is my hope that they allow everyone in. If that happens, then anything can happen.”
Facing an Elko team that returned most of its core from the 2020 state championship game, the Greenwave found out early on Friday that the Indians could be the team to beat in the Silver State.
Elko senior Michael Klekas nearly matched Fallon by himself as Elko remained undefeated in league play of the Division 3A North-East with a commanding 71-40 victory. The Indians knocked off Lowry by 30 on Saturday.
With only one player - Collin Brun - from the state championship team that defeated Elko on a buzzer-beater in overtime, Dalager was pleased with the team’s performance, including its effort for the whole game.
“I thought our kids did an amazing job against Elko. They played hard the whole game,” she said.
Mistakes, including self-inflicted turnovers, stood out to Dalager, which she hopes to have corrected when Fallon travels to Elko to end the regular season in three weeks.
“We had quite a few turnovers that weren't created by Elko so the next time we play we will focus on taking better care of the basketball,” she added.
Klekas began a dominant performance with the first bucket of the contest on a jump hook, but Snyder answered with a deuce of his own. From that point forward, the Indians turned defense into offensive opportunities.
Senior Andoni Fesenmaier scored after a rebound, and senior Isaiah Dahl cashed a three for a 7-2 lead. On another follow-up, senior Dawson Dumas got into the scorebook. Klekas went on a 6-0 personal run with a pair of deuces and a couple free throws — opening a 15-point cushion — and Fesenmaier found an easy finish on the block. Another clean trip to the stripe for Klekas was followed by a Klekas field goal for a 23-2 advantage.
The Greenwave — who went scoreless for about three-fourths of the frame — drew a foul as the buzzer sounded, senior Tyler Austin hitting a free throw to close the quarter. After the first, the Indians led by 20 at 23-3.
Snyder scored on the block to start the second period — opening a 6-0 run — senior Collin Brun notching consecutive buckets with a finish through contact and a put-back. Dumas ended the mini flurry with a scoop shot in traffic, but Austin nailed a jumper from the elbow on the other side.
A three by Klekas was followed with a flip by Fallon freshman Braden Sorensen. Dahl worked free from the inbound, and finished a back-door lob with a free throw for a 31-13 lead. Fesenmaier cut to the hoop and scored for a 20-point advantage, but Austin grabbed an offensive rebound and stuck the follow on the other side.
A three by Sorensen sliced the deficit to 15, but Fesenmaier notched the last field goal of the half — scoring on a feed from Dahl. At the break, the Indians led by 17 at 35-18.
Opening the third, Elko’s Trae Still pushed the advantage to double with a free throw. Austin got the step and worked between a pair of Elko defenders for a layup, but Still went back to work on the offensive side with a trey.
Klekas dropped a put-back on the offensive glass, and Dumas finished with a pretty left-handed finger roll. Snyder scored on the right block for Fallon, and Austin beat the Indians with a drive on the baseline. Dahl’s second three of the contest opened a 46-24 lead, but Nelson finished a give-and-go for the Wave.
Klekas cleaned up the offensive backboard for another follow, and Dahl added an immediate score after a Fallon turnover. Austin reached double digits with his fifth field goal, but Klekas dribbled down the floor and dropped a pull-up jumper.
Nelson tallied his second bucket of the period, but Still made a backdoor cut for a layup on the other end. After three quarters, the Indians were on top by 25 at 55-30. Klekas began the fourth with a 4-0 run, using an up-fake for a finish inside and kissing a bank off the window.
Snyder spun for a layup in the lane, but Klekas continued his stellar play — hitting a short J from about 8 feet to reach 30 points — and Fesenmaier yanked down yet another offensive board and hit double figures with his ninth and 10th points.
Klekas was not done, yet, cashing another deuce for a more-than-double lead at 65-32. Fallon put in four straight on a pair of free throws by Snyder and a nifty move by Austin.
Dahl made a great finish at the tin for the Indians, and Klekas finished inside — capping his night — Elko taking a timeout and sending him to the bench.
Austin went 1-for-2 at the line before leaving for the pine for Wave, and Dahl leaked behind Fallon’s defense for a transition bucket.
Snyder closed the contest with an and-1 — also hitting the free throw — but Elko rolled to a convincing 71-40 victory.
Klekas led all scorers with 34 points, joined in double figures by 15 points from Dahl and 10 by Fesenmaier.
Fallon was paced by 14 points from Austin, Snyder also reaching double figures with 13 points. The offense for the Wave was closed out with five points for Sorensen and four apiece from Brun and Nelson.
Elko Daily’s Anthony Mori contributed to this story.