Fallon sweeps Truckee, North Valleys; hosts Elko
RENO — With a rivalry game on deck, the Greenwave boys basketball team faced adversity against North Valleys but quickly let the Panthers – and the rest of the league – know how explosive they can be on offense.
After leading by only four in the third quarter, junior Elijah Jackson’s back-to-back dunks ignited a 29-point quarter as Fallon came two scores from hitting the century mark. Fallon (11-1) knocked off North Valleys, 94-68, for the third time this season and can now turn its attention to first-place Elko (11-0).
“Elijah really sparked us. He had those two monster dunks and it kind of fired us up,” second-year coach Chelle Dalager said. “Then Johnny (Cooley) hits a three. This team goes from 0 to 100 in 10 seconds. They have the ability to turn it around.”
Jackson led both teams in scoring with 30, including 14 in the third, and Cooley finished with 15, including four 3’s to extend his state-leading total to 49. Junior Thomas Steele scored 12 points and senior David Mcfalls added 10.
Leading by nine after an 8-2 run broke open the game to double digits briefly, Jackson went to work to spark another run. Jackson hit a deep 3-pointer with 3:11 left in the quarter but followed with an electric right-handed slam after senior Jace Harmon stole the ball and fed it to senior Hayden Strasdin. Jackson quickly followed with a two-hand slam and then spun for a short jumper on the next possession. Cooley’s college-range trey capped off a 16-2 run to give Fallon a 64-42 lead with a minute left.
In the first half, both teams battled back and forth but foul trouble hurt the Greenwave. Mcfalls racked up four fouls and senior Trey Rooks and Cooley each had three.
“We were missing shots. We had some fouls called. Our kids weren’t playing defense well,” Dalager said.
But Dalager wasn’t worried because of Fallon’s depth and ability to score quickly.
“We had five starters scoring in double digits,” she said. “When you look at us, we just have the ability to score from all over. Some of our young kids have gotten better. We are one of, if not, the most explosive team in Northern Nevada.”
Fallon showed that explosiveness and depth two days before in a 65-40 road win against Truckee.
Jackson, a strong player of the year candidate, finished with 24 points, most coming in the first half, and Steele had 13 to lead Fallon, which saw all players score. Mcfalls and Harmon each scored seven.
And now, Fallon can focus 100 percent on Elko.
The Indians won the first meeting, 98-92, in double overtime in Elko on Dec. 21 but a lot has changed since that encounter. Elko traveled south, losing only to Mojave, during the holiday break while Fallon won the Sparks tournament and carries a 12-game winning streak into this weekend’s high-profile matchup.
Both teams will bring in adjustments from the first encounter and Dalager said the start of the game could dictate the outcome. It boils down to how each team attacks on defense. Elko has been stronger on defense against the league while Fallon’s come close on several occasions to scoring 100 points.
“Our style of basketball is fun and exciting. We’ll continue to play like we always play,” said Dalager, whose team averages 77 points a game. “The defensive changes we make will be extremely important. We’ve got to have our scorers be able to score. I’m sure Elko’s made their adjustments. It’ll be how we are able to react to those adjustments.”