Lady Wave victory hits hard on Vaqueros | NevadaAppeal.com

Lady Wave victory hits hard on Vaqueros

Mike Sciandra
msciandra@lahontanvalleynews.com
Fallon's Leta Otuafi (20) throws a tight elbow against a Fernley guard.
MIKE SCIANDRA / LVN |

FERNLEY — The Greenwave varsity girls basketball team opened the second half of their season with another win against the Fernley Vaqueros on the road Tuesday night, a 46-33 victory that displayed a more aggressive Fallon team.

The Lady Wave remains undefeated at 18-0 overall and 9-0 in D1-A, while Fernley begins their second half of the season at 8-10 overall and 4-5 in D1-A.

The next test of the Wave’s winning streak is at home on Saturday at 1 p.m. against the Lady Bucks from Lowry,

In what some might see as a hard fought win, Fallon coach Anne Smith had reservations about the Wave’s defensive performance and said her players did not put their best effort forward against an improved team like Fernley.

“It felt like we got too complacent with a lot of tiny details that we’ve been working on all year,” Smith said, “such as closing out, crashing the boards, boxing out, and fighting through screens. The effort just wasn’t there.”

Offensively, Smith said Fallon struggled a little in the first half, fighting a closer battle than they were accustomed all season to get a comfortable 10-point lead, even with Fayth Cornmesser back on the court since Zoey Swisher was out this game on an injured ankle.

“There was confusion in some of the plays we ran since we tried to work in some new offenses, but there were some good things too,” she said. “It’s always good to have another one (Cornmesser) back, but (Swisher) helps run the show and really gets things going, so it’s an adjustment. Overall it was good to have Fayth back and have the clearance to play like before.”

The opponent that seemed to give the Wave the most trouble in the first half was Fernley’s No. 1, Hailee Edgar, who led her team in scoring with 11 points and worked off of a screen that Fallon spent the first half unable to fight.

“She’s quick,” Smith said of Edgar. “She’d come off that screen and we just weren’t fighting through the screens well enough, so it gave her an open lane right to the basket. Soon as we got our defense to actually help it seemed like we contained her, but she did the job.”

Though Fallon was on top at the end of the first quarter 12-9, the Otuafi sisters spent most of the second quarter learning to stop Edgar from rushing the basket and instead used her speed to her advantage to monopolize on steals. Leta Otuafi and Megan McCormick tied for third in points scored at eight points each. Though both Leta and McCormick struggled on defense, yet when the second half started, they both used their height to their advantage like they did in the previous game against Fernley, shutting down the open lanes and keeping Fernley’s second shooting chances to a minimum.

Thanks to this they were able to make the long passes to Leilani Otuafi, who led Fallon with 12 points. Caitlyn Welch scored at 10 point, appropriate since she kept the game aggressive and fought for her baskets, which led to many hard falls that looked tough from which to recover.

Smith agreed that instead of their usually composure, this was a game dependent on adjustments in lieu of fighting for possession despite the aggression of certain individual players such as Welch and Cornmesser.

“They definitely saw what could happen if they didn’t put effort into every play offensively and defensively,” Smith said of her players. “We talked in practice about how the effort has to be there whether you’re two points ahead or whether you’re twenty points ahead. You still need girls diving on the floors for loose balls, everybody closing out and boxing out, it doesn’t matter.”

Smith also said she hopes the home-court energy will help her players get back on track against Lowry, but she is still skeptical due to Fallon’s record in the past against the Lady Buckaroos.

“We have the advantage of being on our home floor, but in the last couple of years Lowry’s come to Fallon and beat us on our own floor anyhow,” she said. “We haven’t beaten them at home for a couple of years now, and they’re going to be up or the challenge. If the girls do put their effort in, things can go our way, but it’s not going to come easy. Lowry is well coached and always ready to play and I’m sure they’ve improved since we last played. It’ll be a good game.”