Lady Wave unwraps a win from Fernley
Christmas came early to Fallon for the Greenwave varsity girls basketball team due to a sizable victory against the Fernley Vaqueros, 55-22, Tuesday night at the Elmo Dericco gym.
This game was also the first of the season for Leta Otuafi, sister to Leilani Otuafi who was out on an injured league for the beginning of the season.
Fallon’s next game is at the Elite Varsity Basketball tournament at Reed High School starting Monday.
Fallon coach Anne Smith said she felt Leta did great for a first game as a part of the Wave’s winning equation for the night.
“Defensively, she held No. 50 (Fernley’s Brittany Gaitan) very well, and offensively she got open and was able to finish, even got that 3-pointer,” Smith said. “She definitely did a great job.”
Faith Cornmesser drew first blood with a basket, putting the Wave on the scoreboard 2-0.
Leilani Otuafi followed with a 3-pointer, and the Wave defense controlled the court long enough for her and Megan McCormick to regain their footwork.
The Vaqueros’ aim was off although guard Hailee Edgar gave them plenty of chances, swift enough to pass around Cornmesser’s long reach.
Cornmesser would steal soon after, missing two shots but setting up Leta Otuafi for a layup, her first points of the season that bolstered the Wave at a cozy 9-0 lead.
Fernley’s Taylor Richardson put her team on the board but after a basket by Cornmesser (assist by Leilani) and a backwards layup by Leta Otuafi, the Wave ended the first quarter with a commanding 13-2 lead.
Fernley’s Ali Conder stepped up in the second quarter to disrupt Wave passing, focused on Fallon’s Kaitlyn Hunter who was instrumental in the first quarter.
Cornmesser continued scoring with long down-court passes from Leilani Otuafi, who would spot the openings throughout the night.
Stacy Kalt scored under the net to bolster the Wave at 15-2 and it looked like Fallon might hold Fernley from scoring all together in the second quarter until Edgar scored a basket and a 3-pointer consecutively with swift low to the ground running.
Richardson sped up under the net on Fernley’s next possession and scored a basket as well, the Wave still up 15-9 and the margin looking like it might close.
Cornmesser got up after a hard fall competing with Edgar, but didn’t let up in scoring, followed by both the Otuafi sisters with a basket and two free throws to end the half, with the Wave up 25-11.
Despite having the advantage, Smith said she felt her team rushed the offense in the first half.
“They took good shots but not the best shots,” she said of her players. “It felt like we could have moved the ball around a little bit more and had the defense build up on the court to take better shots.”
The Wave was called on a delay of game penalty early in the third, but continued pressing the court while Fernley’s defense began to tighten under the net with less focus on pass disruption.
In one of her highlights of the game, Leta Otuafi scored a 3-pointer from a tight corner that brought the Wave up 38-15 and left Fernley and Fallon fighting on the court for the ball after multiple times tripping throughout the rest of the second half.
Leta Otuafi chased down her 3-pointer with a layup, followed by consecutive baskets by Leilani Otuafi and McCormick to end the third 44-15 for the Wave.
Edgars was quicker to catch the Wave’s missed shots under the net in the fourth quarter, but no matter how many chances she got to run the court, Hunter and Fallon’s Caitlyn Welch had the endurance to keep pace with her and shut her down before she could get under the net.
“I thought my guards on the front end of my press did a phenomenal job getting steals and creating turnovers,” Smith said of Hunter and Welch. “I was really impressed with their defensive effort tonight.”
When the Wave surged to a 50-19 lead, it looked as if Fernley might not break the 20-point mark before the end of the game until Edgar planted far out of Cornmesser’s reach and scored a 3-pointer.
Though Fallon would miss a few shots, the Vaqueros were unable to rally with the time they had left, and a 3-pointer by Caitlyn Welch in the last minute ended the game with the Wave dominating 55-22.
In light of the win, Smith commended Fernley’s defense for their interference.
“They transitioned from offense to defense very well and were still able to break up our fast break opportunities, so I thought they did a good job competing with us,” Smith said.