Next year may be the Lady Wave’s year
It wasn’t the way the season was supposed to end.
Not after a hot, 26-game winning streak to open the season, which included wins against Division I playoff teams.
The Lady Wave basketball team, though, not only suffered its first loss of the year two weeks ago in the regional tournament to Lowry, but also its final loss to Spring Valley on Friday in the Division I-A state semifinals. The Lady Wave lost to the Grizzlies, 64-52, who then lost to Faith Lutheran in the state championship, a rematch of the southern regional title game which Spring Valley won.
Even with the back-to-back losses, a 26-2 season is nothing to be disappointed about for the Lady Wave.
Fallon dominated the Division I-A because of its defense, full-court pressure, balanced shooting and leadership. No other team could match the Lady Wave during the regular season until Lowry faced the Lahontan Valley school for the third time this season. And like they say, it’s difficult to beat the same team twice, let alone three times.
The season also featured a gathering of impressive wins against the Division I in December when Fallon knocked off Douglas, Damonte Ranch, Reed and McQueen twice. The win over Reed gave Fallon the Elite Varsity Basketball Tournament trophy.
But while it’s common to think about the what ifs and could have beens, this year’s squad turned in one of the best seasons in school history.
An undefeated league record and regular season championship, reaching the regional championship and qualifying for the state tournament for the third time since Ronald Regan was in office are accomplishments not to take for granted.
And although Fallon loses two seniors – starter Megan McCormick and reserve Madison Perazzo – it will be back next season stronger and with more experience.
Friday’s loss to Spring Valley will turn into a great learning opportunity and moment of reflection when this team convenes later this year.
“Everybody on the floor was a freshman, sophomore and one senior,” Fallon coach Anne Smith said. “Spring Valley won state last year and that probably worked in their favor. Hopefully the girls can learn and next year, when they get back, it will be a little more familiar.”
Fallon flashed moments of inexperience with sloppy passing and uncharacteristic misses in the paint that Spring Valley capitalized throughout the game.
Tighten up the turnovers, hone in on the shooting and compete for a state championship instead of looking ahead to the spring season.
“We had some misses underneath by people who usually don’t miss,” Smith said. “That’s not our best underneath shooting, for sure. Spring Valley had good defense on the perimeter. We still had some turnovers but it wasn’t anything they did. We threw the ball too long.”
The freshman sensation duo of cousins Leta and Leilani Otuafi, defensive specialists Zoey Swisher (junior) and Kaitlyn Hunter (sophomore), and sophomore post Faith Cornmesser will be back for an encore performance as Fallon strives to make the playoffs, first and foremost, but win the school’s first-ever state championship.
By putting in work in the offseason and hitting the open gym, Fallon will position itself to have yet another magical but completely satisfying season.
Next year, Fallon. Next year.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.