Big weekend looms for Fallon hoops
The gymnasium calls for you on Saturday.
The biggest home game of the season is this weekend when the Lady Wave basketball team hosts Lowry at 1 p.m. at the Elmo Dericco Gymnasium. It’s the first meeting since both teams tangled in the state championship last year when Fallon won its first-ever NIAA championship in Las Vegas.
Both teams are, again, on a collision course for each other that will not only decide the league and regional champ, but the state championship will go through these two teams. No disrespect to the rest of the 3A, but Fallon and Lowry are the best teams in the state. Fans will get a taste of what’s to come next month when Saturday’s game tips off, and you’re not going to want to miss it.
Fallon and Lowry have similar resumes. Both have knocked off a few 4A schools. Both are undefeated in the league. And both played in grueling holiday tournaments that exposed temporary flaws to correct as league play resumed this week.
A pair of returners leads the Buckaroos this season with senior Alyssa Kuskie averaging 13.8 points per game and junior Sydney Connors pumping in 10.5 points per game. Both are lethal shooters with the senior guard banking 40 3-pointers (41 percent) and Connors burying 20 (40 percent).
On paper, it’s simple. Contain Kuskie and Connors and the outcome will be in your favor.
But 3A basketball is never that simple. Especially when it comes to these two squads. And it’s not to say that Fallon isn’t without its own arsenal of weapons.
Senior Caitlyn Welch, a 3-point threat, herself, leads Fallon with 12.5 points per game and junior Lani Otuafi averages 12 points per game and cousin junior Leta Otuafi is shy of double figures at 9.1 points per game. Leta Otuafi and Faith Cornmesser provide a needed presence in the paint with Welch and Lani Otuafi along the perimeter.
It’s going to be a dogfight, the first of four possible battles of this war between the two schools.
Don’t forget about the boys basketball team, either.
The Greenwave picked up a big road win on Tuesday against Fernley and sits tied for second in the league with a 3-1 record. Elko is the king of the mountain at the moment but don’t be surprised if Chelle Dalager’s resurging program is battling the Indians for the regional title next month.
Sophomore Elijah Jackson has returned from his season-ending football injury and he’s as electric as he was on the gridiron, averaging 17.8 points per game. Junior Hayden Strasdin is a tall force inside, junior Trey Rooks controls the ball well, senior Christian Nemeth provides relief in the key, junior Brenden Larsen isn’t afraid to take a charge and junior John Cooley’s leadership goes unnoticed.
Like the Lady Wave’s test with Lowry, the boys could be in for a fight with the Buckaroos on Saturday as they sit in a three-way tie for third with a 2-2 record. Again, Elko has established itself as the team to beat with a 5-0 record but that second seed and possibly second state berth is wide open. South Tahoe, Fallon, Lowry, Dayton (which Fallon plays Friday) and Fernley are within a game of each other.
This weekend is one of the biggest of the season as it will put one team atop of the girls basketball standings and either complicate or create some separation in the boys standings. Either way, you’re not going to want to miss out.
Come down to the Elmo Dericco Gymnasium and watch some playoff-caliber basketball.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.