Double loss won’t dash Fallon’s hopes for playoff seeding
With seeding for the D1-A playoffs only one game away, the Greenwave varsity basketball team finds itself in the danger zone after losing two home games, 61-50 to Elko on Friday and 53-49 to Spring Creek on Saturday.
The Wave played Truckee at home Tuesday night.
Fallon’s record stands at 9-15 overall and 6-9 in D1-A, but coach Brad Barton said he is taking the good with the bad from the way his team played.
“I personally felt like we played really well as a team against Elko but that we had a big let down against Spring Creek on Saturday for sure,” Barton said. “Had we played the level of basketball against Spring Creek that we did against Elko, a level I know we are capable of, then I feel like we could’ve cinched it and won easy to be honest.”
Barton said it appeared his team simply didn’t want it bad enough against Spring Creek, and he saw a surprisingly lackadaisical team enter the court Saturday, despite a much closer loss.
“We just didn’t play with that same fire that we usually do,” Barton said. “It was definitely frustrating to see since we were just starting to come together again.”
The Wave isn’t the only team feeling the pressure after this weekend, including Elko, according to Indians coach Chris Klekas who said the win against the Wave on Friday was lucky.
“Well I’d rather be lucky than dead,” Klekas said. “Fallon played really well, and I just moved some things and we made some shots and we did just enough to win the game. I’m proud of the kids you know, they maintained their composure and did some good things with that. It was a hard win.”
The Indians finished both the first quarter and the second quarter with a 10-point lead on Fallon thanks to the perimeter shooting of Dustin Baum and the heavy guard of Jeron Yopps. Baum was third in points scored for Elko with 11, behind Yopps at 12 and Erik Klekas who led with 25 points. Klekas scored five 3-pointers that helped cinch the game, followed by Baum’s three 3-pointers that kept the Wave’s guards on their toes boxing out.
“Overall it was a good victory for us,” Klekas said. “We’ve been struggling so it was good to do good on the road when we struggle. We’re a man defense. We work on little things here or there but basically our defense is man to man and that’s been working out. We definitely have to do a lot better of a job rebounding and taking care of the ball. I thought Fallon’s press hurt us a little bit, so we have to work on rebounding and be able to handle the ball in pressure situations.”
Spring Creek’s coach Scott Carsrud said his team did a good job toward the end, closing a fourth quarter victory over the Wave two baskets ahead, bolstered by free throw opportunities when the Wave’s players became more anxious and fouled more easily.
“We had a good free throw average in the end, which is an important part of the game,” Carsrud said, “We stepped up tonight and made good free throws when we had to, and we took better care of the ball. We had 13 turnovers in the first half and that hurt us. The second half we did a lot better at taking care of the ball and had six turnovers. We started executing our press break.”
Rebounds made a visible difference in this game, though the Wave ended the first three quarters ahead. The Spartans’ Jake Miner and Jake Oliphant were a team under the net that left the Wave’s guards struggling to close the open lanes to Fallon territory.
Carsrud said the’s seen a battle like this with Fallon before in the first half of the season, when the team was at it’s veritable fullest roster.
“They play hard, their guards are tough. and they brought up some kids from the JV that played really well,” Carsrud said. “Their boys take care of the ball and take good shots and executed. They’re a good team, and we knew they would be. It’s never easy coming up here to play Fallon. It’s always a dog fight. It took five guys on the court working as one unit, and good things tend to happen.”
Trae Thomson led the Wave all weekend with 14 points against Elko and 13 points against Spring Creek, the premier perimeter shooter for Fallon all weekend who sunk several 3-pointers and was the only player for Fallon in double figures in both games. Dylan Rasmussen and Dalton Kaddy were second and third against Elko with nine points each. Against Spring Creek, Cade Vercellotti was second with nine points followed by Marshall Coverston and the newly returned Connor Richardson tied for third at seven points each.
Carsrud said the Spartans will have to get South Tahoe at home on Friday and Dayton on Saturday for a good shot to get into the playoffs after a tough loss to Fernley on Friday that threatened their upcoming seed.
In Fallon, Barton said he isn’t counting his team out, despite that his leading point guard Dylan Ridenour will be sitting out the post season. The return of Coverston as well as Richardson to the Wave’s lineup may bode well, but Barton said his team needs to focus on becoming a team again since the victories that pulled them out of their losing streak before the victory against the Vaqueros were the result of a well oiled Wave machine.