Lady Wave nips Spartans
FALLON — The task was tall and the Fallon girls basketball came up with a split.
Hosting rivals Spring Creek and Elko to open the Northern Division I-A schedule, the Lady Wave exacted a bit of revenge on Friday with a come-from-behind 50-46 victory over Spring Creek. On Saturday, however, Fallon was a step behind and fell 46-36 to Elko.
“That game (on Friday) was draining,” Fallon coach Anne Smith said. “
Elko jumped out to a 12-5 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. A stingy defense forced more than 20 turnovers and held the Lady Wave’s (1-1 league, 3-3 overall) inside game in check.
“We do a lot of passing drills in practice,” Smith said. “It’s still early in the season.”
Elko’s (2-0, 4-1) Desirea Danner had a game-high 17 points, while Shayla Butterfield and Ashton Heathman each scored eight. Fallon’s Gabby Sharpe, meanwhile, was locked in from the perimeter as she tallied 17 points including five 3-pointers.
Other than Sharpe, though, Fallon struggled to maintain possession and find an offensive rhythm. Coming off an emotional win on Friday, the Lady Wave was a step behind Elko and could not pull off another rally.
Not helping matters was Fallon’s limited rebounding. With more than 40 boards against Spring Creek, the Lady Wave only mustered 18 against Elko.
“Turnovers were atrocious,” Smith said. “We gave ourselves in this game to close the gap. Elko, coached very well, knows how to capatilize.”
Against Spring Creek, the Spartans held the lead throughout the first three quarters and led by as many as nine, but Fallon rallied to secure a critical league win. Megan McCormick led the fourth-quarter comeback as she tallied six of her 12 points in the period.
The Spartans’ offense, meanwhile, went cold as Spring Creek only connected on 9-of-24 attempts in the second half.
“I liked our effort on the boards,” Smith said.
Trailing 40-36 with 4:37 left, Fallon held the Spartans’ Maddy Merschel and Serima Thompson in check down the stretch.
Sharpe’s jumper tied the game at 44, and Fallon broke free in the final minute. Hannah Lindsay put home a short jump shot off an inbounds pass, McCormick scored on a 2-on-1 fast break and Sharpe added two free throws to give the Lady Wave a 50-44 lead with 16 seconds remaining.
“We had a comfortable lead, but they closed the gap and we gave them confidence,” Spring Creek coach Holly Miller said. “(McCormick) did a really nice job of flashing in the post. I knew it was going to be a tough one.”
Both teams struggled to maintain possession in the first quarter, as turnovers from pressure defense mounted. Spring Creek took an 8-6 lead after the first quarter and started to roll in the second.
Tied at 9, the Spartans went on a 9-0 run with three points from Shawntel Andersen and a fast-break layup by Thompson. But Merschel picked up her second foul of the half and was relegated to the bench.
Fallon used the break from the Merschel’s inside presence to slice the lead to 23-20 at the break. Ali Tedford scored five of her 12 points in the final 1:35.
“We didn’t turn the ball over and hit Megan in the high post,” Smith said.
Thompson had a team-high 11 points, while Merschel added 10 and Andersen nine. Fallon, meanwhile, had three players —Tedford, McCormick and Lindsay — who each scored 12 points.
The Lady Wave hit 14-of-20 free throws, while Spring Creek made 9-of-21.
Up next for Fallon is the Silver State Slam Tournament in Reno from Dec. 26-28. The Lady Wave resume league play Jan. 3 at Truckee.