Rivalry games loom large for Lady Wave
Northern DI-A girls basketball standings
Team League Overall
Lowry 8-0 12-4
Elko 7-1 11-7
Fallon 6-2 9-7
Fernley 4-4 7-9
Spring Creek 4-4 7-10
South Tahoe 4-4 7-10
Truckee 2-6 4-9
Sparks 1-7 2-11
Dayton 0-8 1-13
It is as big a weekend of basketball for the Fallon girls team as there is.
A sweep and their postseason hopes are all but a lock, a pair of losses puts the season in jeopardy and split keeps the Lady Wave in solid position.
Fallon enters the final two games of its six-game homestand with a pair of familiar foes — Spring Creek and Elko. Tip-off against Spring Creek is at 6 p.m. today and 1 p.m. Saturday against Elko.
“It’s very important because we don’t want to put ourselves in that situation where we are tied for fourth,” Fallon coach Anne Smith said of today and Saturday’s games. “We’ve got to stay where we are and get better. We call it the second chapter of the season.”
Currently, Fallon stands at 6-2 in the Northern Division I-A (7-9 overall) and in third place behind Elko (7-1), while Spring Creek is tied for fourth (4-4) with Fernley and South Tahoe.
The Lady Wave thumped Spring Creek, 54-34, on Dec. 12 and aims to regain their offensive form after several subpar performances.
Perhaps the most anticipated rematch, though, is with the Indians. Fallon dropped a controversial game on Dec. 13 62-56 after Elko enjoyed a 42-15 free-throw disparity.
The Lady Wave was hit with 28 fouls to Elko’s 14 and standout senior guard Ali Tedford fouled out. Fallon had four other players with four fouls, while Elko had one, Desirea Danner.
Despite the officiating concerns, Fallon held a five-point lead at halftime only to be overcome in the second half.
Although the game lingers in Smith’s memory, she said her club is focused on today and Saturday, not what happened in the past. In addition, Smith has not brought up the subject with her team instead opting to focusing on what they can control.
“I don’t even touch the subject with the girls,” Smith said. “I don’t want them to foxus on that, I want them to relax.”
Elko, though, has been on a roll winning seven of its last eight, with the only loss coming in a 57-52 defeat at Lowry last week.
Spring Creek, meanwhile, has been erratic all season as the Spartans lost several of their top players from last year. Spring Creek is also coming off a loss to Lowry (47-29) and has not come within less than 20 points of the top three teams in the league.
But what Spring Creek lacks, they make up with Maddy Merschel, who is leads the league in rebounding (11.1) and blocks (2.5) and is tied for fourth in scoring (11.6).
“They have gotten better and we played them early in the season,” Smith said. “We’re going to have to play better than we did against South Tahoe and Lowry.”
Elko, meanwhile, is led by Danner (11.3 ppg, 1.3 apg), Emily Elquist (9.8 rpg) and Marissa Sandavol (5.2 rpg).
“I think Elko is a little stronger from the perimeter (than Spring Creek,” Smith said. “It’s going to come down to us playing defense.”
Fallon, though, counters with Tedford, who leads the club in scoring (11.1), steals (3.3) and assists. (1.7). Tedford isn’t alone as Megan McCormick provides a low-post threat as she averages 10.7 points per game and on the boards (5.5).
McCormick’s running mate, Madison Perazzo, leads the team in rebounding (6.1) and provides another scoring option for Fallon.
“We have to get back to our style of basketball,” Smith added. “We have got to finish around the basket and take care of the ball.”