Wave boys left in the cold
Had the Greenwave varsity basketball team displayed better luck with their free throws, the ending may have revealed a close win over Fernley.
In reality, the Wave lost their home game to the Vaqueros, 57-52, Tuesday night, another second half comeback that Fallon couldn’t stop.
The Wave’s next game will be at the Trojan Toss-Up tournament in El Dorado Hills, Calif., on Monday.
Coach Brad Barton said the game presented the same situation as their loss to Lovelock, in which the Wave was up in the first half but came out flat after halftime.
“They played a good third quarter and fought their way back to the basketball game,” Barton said of Fernley.
Fallon’s Dylan Ridenour was the first on the board for the Wave, but two baskets into the first minute by Fernley’s Drake Howe gave the Vaqueros an early lead, 3-2.
After the first of many fouls, the Wave’s Clay Davison made a free throw to tie the game. Not long after, the Vaqueros’ Zach Burns made a free throw and brought them up 4-3.
Barton said he was worried about Burns penetrating the Wave’s defense, and it showed in Burns’ consistency throughout the game.
After baskets by Davison and Ridenour, the Wave jumped ahead 7-4 and would fight to keep a lead throughout the first half.
The Wave’s Connor Richardson attempted a bucket, but would only assist Ridenour who scored a layup to boost Fallon further ahead, 9-4.
The Wave led 11-8 after Richardson made a layup to end the first quarter.
Fernley, though, looked stronger at the beginning of the second quarter when Howe made the first 3-pointer of the game to tie at 11 each.
Richardson found his groove and answered with a basket, but the Vaqueros took the lead 14-13 with another 3-pointer, getting visibly faster as they learned how to crowd the Wave under the net.
Fallon’s Marshall Coverston was fouled attempting a backward layup and made a free throw to tie it up, 14-14.
The teams began to answer each other with fouls and freethrows again, but the Wave stayed on the favorable side of this equation for now.
Even behind, Fernley kept the game close every moment. Burns made consecutively smooth free throws to compete with Ridenour’s shooting.
After a layup by Davison, free throws were the only scoring done by either team before the half ended with the Wave on top, 26-20.
Just like in their game against Lovelock, the Wave struggled to play to their own standards in the third quarter.
In the third period after consecutive baskets by Fernley’s Ren Arroyo and Davison, respectively, the Wave led 30-27, yet the Vaqueros showed no signs of slowing.
Fernley’s defensive coverage was man to man, which caused enough anxiety that forced Fallon to rush their shots. The Wave’s players likely thought their only chance, with their passing slowed, was to storm under the net despite the Vaqueros’ clustered there.
“We have a philosophy that high percentage shots makes a high percentage player, and when we started throwing up anything we could get a the rim, we allowed them to have extra possessions in the third quarter that gave them their lead,” Barton said.
The Vaqueros’ Justin Turner made the basket, which turned the tide of the game and put Fernley ahead 31-30.
The Wave’s Cade Vercellotti fought in vain to find a hole to rush in between the Fernley’s guards, but he assisted Dalton Kaady instead, who tied the game 36-36.
Coverston was fouled in the air and made a free throw to bolster the Wave at a narrow lead of 37-36 just before the end of the third quarter.
Vercellotti began the fourth quarter and led the charge, and assisted Ridenour with his first basket, which lifted Fallon, 39-36.
After being fouled twice in a row, Richardson misses both free throw attempts and the Wave’s accuracy began to hold them back.
With the score tied 40-40 after the Vaqueros’ next two baskets and a Wave free throw, Fernley was set up to dominate under the net in Wave territory while Fallon’s post was too slow to catch them.
Like clockwork, after a basket, a free throw, and a 3-pointer by Fernley’s Ethan Hunter, the Vaqueros skipped to a 46-40 lead while Barton cried out to his team for ball pressure.
The Wave’s heightened aggression only caused more fouls, which gave Fernley more free throws from Burns and Howe.
Fallon’s last chance to take the game was an impressive backwards layup by Vercellotti and a free throw by Davison, but with one more foul on Howe with 21 seconds left, he made one last free throw to clinch the game for Fernley, 57-52.
“Fernley is a good, competitive group of kids that play well as a team,” Barton said. “They have a good strategy and play for rebounds, since without their big guy they’re a little undersized, but they work hard for every basket and every rebound. We knew it was going to be a good basketball game when they walked in the gym.”