Fallon’s Shawn Alexander and his Greenwave teammates take on Lowry on Thursday in the first round of the Northern 3A regional tournament.
Matt Reibsamen/CCHS Athletics
The last time Fallon played Lowry in the regional tournament, John Cooley’s putback capped off a double-digit comeback to send the Greewave to the state tournament in 2019.
No. 5 Fallon and No. 4 Lowry meet again Thursday at 4:40 p.m. in the first round of the Northern 3A regional tournament at North Valleys High School in Reno.
Fallon, which lost to Elko, 58-36, on Friday and Spring Creek, 68-53, on Saturday, had already locked in the fifth seed. The winner of Thursday’s game faces No. 1 Fernley on Friday at 4:40 p.m. The Vaqueros swept the entire region to earn the tournament’s top seed. Friday’s winner advances to the championship at 2 p.m. on Saturday and will also represent the North in next week’s state tournament at Lawlor Events Center.
Fallon coach Chelle Dalager helmed the comeback in 2019 then saw her team win the state title over Elko in Las Vegas. While this year’s squad doesn’t boast the same kind of star power, the Greenwave has experience from last year’s early exit and started peaking last week. Fallon nearly upset Fernley in double-overtime.
“We have four kids who have playoff experience but it’s better than not having any,” Dalager said. “I think we’re playing good basketball. We had a good first half against Spring Creek and we’ll have some good confidence against Lowry knowing they can match up to them. The playoffs are so different. Anything can happen.”
Juniors Brady Alves, Carter Paul and Baylor Sandberg and sophomore Braden Sorensen played in last year’s first-round loss to Wooster, while sophomore Trevor Hyde was brought up to varsity.
During the season, Fallon swept Lowry but Dalager knows it’s difficult beating the same team more than twice. In 2019 when Fallon won state, it lost to Elko three-straight times before upsetting the Indians on Elijah Jackson’s overtime buzzer-beater at The Orleans.
Dalager likes being on this side of the bracket because her team matches up better with Lowry and Fernley. Fallon struggled in the post due to size – the team’s tallest player is 6-foot-1 – but the Greenwave has done well with guard play. On the other side of the bracket are No. 3 Elko taking on No. 6 Spring Creek with the winner facing No. 1 South Tahoe. Elko and South Tahoe gave Fallon trouble in the paint.
“We struggled matching up with a lot of bigs. That’s why I’m excited to be on this side of the bracket,” Dalager said. “We’ve proved we can match up with Lowry. We struggled with Elko’s (posts). If we get through Lowry, we just have to play our best basketball. Matching up with Fernley is a better look for us also.”
In the second half of the season, Fallon played better against the East, getting the season sweep over Lowry and Dayton while nearly upsetting Fernley. Dalager was pleased with Fallon’s response against the cross-valley rival but this past weekend showed inconsistency.
“I do think we’re playing better basketball. I can see huge improvements and there are kids who are really consistent every game,” Dalager said.
Senior Shawn Alexander leads the team with 14.6 points per game followed by Alves at 13.1 and Sorensen at 9.7. Hyde and Sandberg work together in the paint and lead the team in rebounding with 5.4 boards apiece.
Dalager also has a message for the Fallon community. With Lowry, Fernley, Spring Creek and Elko each advancing their boys and girls teams to the tournament, the crowd size could create a disadvantage for Fallon. Both Lowry’s teams play Thursday.
“I just want a lot of people to show up,” Dalager added. “A lot of these schools have their girls teams going, too. That usually just makes more fans so I’m hoping our Fallon people will come out Thursday and support us at North Valleys. It really makes a difference if you have people in the stands.”