Fallon seeks 2nd state title
LVN Editor Emeritus
1 Matt Davis
2 Elijah Jackson (C)
3 Avery Strasdin
4 Nic Springfield
5 Brock Richardson (C)
10 Anthony Gee
11 Kenji Armbruster
12 Samuel Robertson
15 Thomas Steele (C)
20 Shaw Lee
22 Keith Smith
23 Levi Andrews
25 Colby Malkovich
31 Toby Anderson
What does Fallon do for an encore?
After winning its first state boys basketball title since 1971, the Greenwave will be retooling during the preseason before defending its title during both the regular season and playoff runs.
The Greenwave lost to Northern 3A league-leader Elko three times last season before they faced each other for the state 3A title in March. Elijah Jackson unleashed the game-winner with 4 seconds left in overtime to give the Greenwave a 57-54 victory over Elko at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
What happened in Las Vegas reverberated around the state — and didn’t stay there — as both Fallon’s girls and boys basketball teams won state titles, the first time that happened in the same season in 95 years. Fallon finished 26-3 overall, 15-2 in league with both losses to Elko.
With only five returning players on the roster, Coach Chelle Dalager will be meshing the old with the new. In addition to Jackson, the other returnees include guard Brock Richardson, guard and post player Avery Strasdin, post player Thomas Steele and forward Shaw Lee. Toby Anderson was called up for the playoffs. Dalager was named last season’s Northern 3A and state 3A Coach of the Year.
Dalager said anytime a season begins, it becomes a combination of adding players who competed at the junior varsity level last year with the returnees. She said the younger players don’t understand the type of focus or intensity at the varsity level. As a result, the veteran coach said she spends more time reviewing offense and defense and stressing the importance of keeping on top. The preseason will be a time of adjustment for both the team and Dalager.
On the first day of practice, the coaching staff made adjustments, but Dalager said she didn’t get a good look at the players in a scrimmage a week into the training time. Dalager noted a handful of players were out for various reasons, and the football season extended into late November because of the state championship game.
Dalager said the nucleus of the team should be in good shape as the season progresses.
“We have one of the most athletic kids coming back,” she said of Jackson.
Jackson led Fallon in scoring, averaging 17.7 points per game and shooting 54% from the floor. He was second on the team from beyond the arc, making 48 of 116 shots from3-point range. He led last year’s team with 78 steals.
Another player who brings experience to the team is Steele. Dalager said Steele is struggling because of a knee injury suffered during the football season. Steele averaged 14.1 points per game last season and was 62% from the floor, making 170 of 273 attempts. He led the team in rebounding with 194.
Growing a few more inches and showing more agility, Strasdin will be a threat.
“He will have a great season,” Dalager said. “He played a role for us last year. Where he ended up last year was amazing.”
Strasdin came off the bench to give the Wave consistency in its lineup.
Brock Richardson, who missed part of the season due to an injury incurred at a football combine, averaged 3.9 points per game, but Dalager said his quickness will be an attribute to the Wave.
“Defensively, he’s one of our most talented kids on defense,” she said. “He moves his feet well. He passes well.”
Lee played in 20 games during the 2018-19 season and averaged 2.5 points per game.
“He’s a competitor and works very hard,” Dalager said.
Anthony Geer is a senior who played on junior varsity last year. Dalager said he also will be a good addition to varsity.
Dalager said Anderson, at 6-foot, 4 inches, shows potential. As a sophomore last year, he played on the varsity during the postseason to spell the big men. He averaged 1.3 points per game, but he had six rebounds during the regional playoffs.
Other players on this year’s varsity include Matt Davis, Nic Springfield, Kenji Armbruster, Samuel Robertson, Keith Smith, Levi Andrews and Colby Malkovich. Dalager said Davis and Springfield were two of the top j.v. players on defense and scoring, and said Malkovich will give the team a different look on defense. As for Robertson, she said he has a decent shot from the post, and Armbruster can run the point guard and passes well. Andrews, she said, brings quickness. Smith can be used as a point guard. She said Smith missed last year due to injury, but he’s working hard to restore his level of play.
“We have a good combination of kids, and we’ll figure out what we’re looking for (in game situations),” she added. “By the end of the season, we’ll be exactly where we need to be.”
Dalager knows her new players have big shoes to fill. Departing seniors included Jace Harmon, Hayden Strasdin, Johnny Cooley, David McFalls and Trey Rooks.
Dalager will miss Cooley’s outside shooting from the 3-ppit range. He led the team with 60 3-pointers and averaged 11.3 points per game. Strasdin finished the season with 105 rebounds and averaged under 10 points per game. But as last year’s big man in the middle, his 6-6 frame thwarted the opponents’ movement in the paint.
McFalls and Rooks could ignite the offense, McFalls from the outside and Rooks down low. They averaged 8.6 an 6.2 points per game, respectively, and Rooks hauled down 77 rebounds.
Dalager said the league is much more competitive this season with Elko, Lowry and Fallon battling at the top tier while Dayton and Fernley have the potential to be spoilers. Dalager said she doesn’t rule out South Tahoe, which has a storied basketball program. She also said Spring Creek and Sparks could surprise teams.
“Each game will be important,” she said.
Assisting Dalager will be Brandon Sanders, who was with her last season, and Darryl Erwin, who has spent a number of years at the lower levels as a basketball coach.