League title is on the line against elko | NevadaAppeal.com

League title is on the line against elko

Thomas Ranson | lvnsports@yahoo.com
Fallon's Leilani Otuafi (20) jumps to shoot in the Lady Wave's previous win against Elko in the first half of the season.
ANTHONY MORI / ELKO DAILY FREE PRESS |

Forget the Super Bowl.

Tuesday night’s battle between the region’s top two teams is what matters in the Lahontan Valley this weekend.

After destroying Sparks 54-13 Tuesday night to remain perfect on the season (22-0 overall, 13-0 Division I-A), Fallon returns home for the final three games of the regular season. It begins with Elko (10-2 overall, 8-1 in D1-A) tonight when a win for the Lady Wave seals the No. 1 seed for the regional tournament in two weeks. Fallon closes out the season with Spring Creek (6-13 overall, 4-6 in D1-A) on Saturday and then Truckee (11-9 overall, 5-5 in D1-A) on Tuesday for Senior Night. Elko, Spring Creek and Truckee still have three to four more games remaining after this weekend.

“It’ll be tough. There’s no doubt,” Fallon coach Anne Smith said about Elko. “I’m sure they’ll be ready and so will we. It will be good challenge and a good game.”

The Lady Wave held off the Indians in the first meeting, 73-58, last month in Elko when Indians’ guard Alicia Marin scored a game-high 32 points.

“We need to do a better job at containing her. She had most of their points,” Smith said. “She’s a wing, perimeter player. She drives. She’s shot some 3 pointers. She’s a great player. She’s definitely one we need to know at all times.”

The goal for tonight will be the same in containing Marin and continuing crashing the boards and taking away any second-chance points for Elko. The Indians grabbed 70 rebounds in their recent win over the Spartans.

“I still anticipate Elko will go man against us and try and create turnovers,” Smith said. “They may try a box and one. It’s going to be interesting. I anticipate seeing a full court press in both of them. We’re just going off the film we have from the first time we played them. We have to be very diligent in crashing the boards.”

As for Sparks, Fallon was able to work on in-game goals and different aspects of both the offense and defense. The Lady Wave’s defense didn’t falter in the opening quarter, shutting out Sparks in a 31-point effort.

“I just rotated people through,” Smith said. “Every four minutes, I put a new string in. The second half was pretty much a running clock so it went by faster.”

Two players scored in double figures with Leta Otuafi scored 12 points and Kaitlyn Hunter adding 10 as each player scored against the Railroaders.

Leilani Otuafi scored eight points, Caitlyn Welch added seven and Faith Cornmesser had six.

“We just set little goals. It doesn’t matter how we play, but who we play,” Smith said. “This game, we had a few little offensive things to work on to take us into the last games. We had some games to work on and that worked well.”

This weekend will be Fallon’s most crucial with only three games until the playoffs, and seeding can fluctuate as the top four teams qualify for the tournament in two weeks.

Even if Fallon loses its winning streak over the weekend, it doesn’t determine the state champion.

“Either way, we’re still going to push through the very end,” Smith said. “Even if there is a loss, we’re not out. We’re still capable of finishing things. I like to think pressure is not on us but on our opponent. The things that we’re doing right we’re going to keep doing.”