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Must win for Wave hoops

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com
Fallon guard Tyelr Bagby drives toward the basket during a game last week. The Wave must win today and Saturday to clinch a berth in the playoffs.
Steve Puterski / sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com | LVN

Division I-A Boys Basketball Standings

Team League Overall

xElko 15-0 22-2

xLowry 13-1 22-2

xSpring Creek 10-5 11-11

Fallon 7-7 8-11

South Tahoe 7-8 9-14

Dayton 5-9 11-10

Fernley 3-11 8-13

Sparks 3-12 3-19

Truckee 2-12 4-15

x – clinched playoff berth

The formula is simple: win and you’re in.

The Fallon boys basketball team must beat and South Tahoe on Saturday to clinch the fourth and final Northern Division I-A playoff berth. A loss ends Fallon’s season.

The Greenwave, though, hosts Sparks at 6 p.m. today, but the game holds no consequence.

“We are preparing for South Tahoe because win or lose against Sparks, we have to beat South Tahoe,” Fallon coach Brad Barton said. “We watched both of those teams play and Sparks is actually looking really, really good.”

As a part of Winterfest activities, today’s game is a blackout and fans are encouraged to wear black clothing.

South Tahoe, meanwhile, is in the midst of a free fall as the Vikings lost to Sparks, 50-30, on Tuesday and 65-58 to Fernley last week. South Tahoe sits at 7-8 in league play, while Fallon is 7-7 and Sparks is 3-12.

Despite South Tahoe’s woes the past two games, a victory over Fallon gives the Vikings a season sweep and the No. 4 seed.

Elko and Lowry battle for the league title on Saturday, while Spring Creek has locked up the No. 3 seed.

“We know we have to win and prepare one game at a time,” Barton said. “We’ve still pushed the guys hard.”

Fallon, though, will rely on junior Jeff Evett to spark the offense. In addition to Evett, Tyler Bagby, Connor Richardson and Beau Marshall also must fulfill their roles for Fallon to qualify for next week’s regional tournament in Elko.

Fallon’s Achilles this season has been the lack of consistency against pressure defense. Barton said the focus during practice has been on various full-court press sets.

To amp up the intensity, Barton and his staff also play 5-on-6 and 5-on-7 as the offense attempts to navigate through a swarm of defenders.

“It’s hard to simulate that pressure in practice with bench guys, so it helps to put an extra guy out there on defense,” Barton said.

The Wave, meanwhile, has won three of its last four games and only allowed more than 45 points once in that span. Offensively, Fallon has reached 50 point twice and also gutted out a pair of close games against Truckee (47-44) and Dayton (44-40).

But while South Tahoe has struggled the past two games, Barton said it is important for his club to keep their focus.

“We don’t take stock in the fact that they have lost (their last two) games,” he added. “There are no down games in this league. We can’t overlook anybody and are expecting South Tahoe to be ready.”