Fallon wins the race against Yerington
The Greenwave varsity basketball team played the role of the tortoise to Yerington’s role as the hare, and it paid off with a win.
An almost ‘new’ Wave team focused on precision and setup and left the Elmo Dericco gym with a 54-50 victory on Wednesday.
Fallon coach Brad Barton said his players had been working all week long on getting better shots and letting their offense work slower, and that Wednesday was a good step in the right direction with an away game against Elko today at 7:30 p.m.
“Yerington is a great basketball team, and they had a lot of games this week,” Barton said, “They came in to work and developed some players, since we saw (that) they substituted all their team in. It was a great win for us.”
Barton commended Connor Richardson, whom he said played an outstanding defense for the Wave, and was given the responsibility of stopping Yerington’s Koby Foster.
Foster led Yerington in points scored at 15, halted several times at the net by Richardson in the first half alone. Richardson helped command the floor and slow down the Wave’s passing.
Fallon looked immediately different, taking advantage of every steal and every possession without relying on speed.
Fallon’s Marshall Coverston worked with Richardson and led the team with a more vocal approach to passing. This was how Coverston managed the tempo and brang the ball up the floor with a precision that Barton said he was pleased with.
Coverston was second in scoring with 13 points behind Clay Davison, who led the team in points with 22.
“Coverston did an absolutely fabulous job managing our team today,” Barton said, adding that Coverston’s game-by-game improvement will be essential if Fallon hoped to make a run for the playoffs.
Davison hit three big 3-pointers alone in the second quarter that helped cement the team’s lead after a slow first quarter.
Davison was also the only scorer in the first quarter along side Thomas Diaz – each scored four points for a total of eight — one fewer than what Yerington scored in the quarter — before the Wave racked up 19 points in the second quarter to end the first half, 27-15.
With fewer personal fouls on the opponent and a higher free throw average, the Wave had the advantage they needed to keep their lead in the second half.
“We’ve been working a lot on that, and Connor especially has been working on his rhythm at the free throw line and it worked in our favor when their shots started falling,” Barton said.
Yerington looked like they had the Wave’s passing rhythm down after a precise steal by Daniel Sciarani and a 3-pointer by Foster until Coverston retrieved and ran the court for a unguarded layup.
At this point in the game, Yerington’s strategy was one fans don’t see very often, similar to the Wave’s slowdown, but focused more on setting up 3-pointers for big shooters like Foster and Sciarani.
After a while this strategy began to pay off with several 3-pointers by Foster. The Wave was up 36-25, and the margin was shrinking.
Before long, with several attempts on the glass, the Wave’s free throw average began to pay dividends from Richardson and Dalton Kaady, who each made at least one of two attempts without fouling Yerington’s players on the way back to their own territory.
The third quarter ended 36-27 after one last attempt for a basket behind the glass by Fallon’s Cade Vercellotti.
After the fourth quarter began with a 3-pointer by Yerington’s David McFalls, the tempo rose for both teams and the Wave looked like they might slip.
Davison didn’t abandon the Wave’s strategy to run out the clock and shared the ball with Richardson instead of rushing under the net. Foster, who rivaled Davison in jumping, deflected his shots several times.
Both teams knew it would be close after Sciarani and Foster traded 3-pointers for baskets.
Yerington trailed the Wave 49-45 after a basket by Samuel Hammond with 52 seconds left and the pressure on for both teams.
Coverston relieved the tension by systematically avoiding fouls when Foster and Sciarani ran the court, and instead, regained possession which gave the Wave more chances at the net.
Coverston’s next two free throws were pivotal, though Sciarani would squeeze in one last 3-pointer for Yerington, and the buzzer went off at 54-50, cinching the win for the Wave to break their losing streak.
Barton said he was particularly hopeful for their upcoming game at Elko in light of this win without his No. 1 point guard, Dylan Ridenour, who was out due to a foot injury and likely will not be joining the Wave today.
“We worked really hard on rotating defensively, and I thought we executed the game plan really well,” Barton said. “Our offense is good enough that if we break down the defense eventually we’ll get better shots, and that’s been the problem we’ve had all season is taking too many hurried shots. So I’m excited we were able to compete.”