Lady Wave dominate Elko County foes | NevadaAppeal.com

Lady Wave dominate Elko County foes

Adam Robertson
arobertson@lahontanvalleynews.com
Fallon's Leilani Outafi has a head start as he goes in for a layup against Elko in Friday's Northern 3A game.
STEVE RANSON / LVN |

The Lady Wave dominated their Northern 3A basketball foes over the weekend, playing back-to-back home games against Elko and Spring Creek.

On Jan. 6, Fallon crushed Elko’s Lady Indians 51-42; the players lost no momentum Jan. 7 as they went on to destroy Spring Creek 52-26, bringing their standing to 11-3 overall, 5-0 league.

In Friday’s game, the Lady Wave recovered from a rough first half. The first quarter started with a deadlock as the score stayed tied. In the final minutes, though, Elko scored a quick series of baskets and pulled into the lead 16-8.

In the second quarter, the Lady Wave fought their way back and closed in on Elko. While both teams scored, Fallon rallied and closed the gap to 25-22, thanks to a buzzer beater from Fallon’s Faith Cornmesser.

The second half opened with Fallon’s Lailani Otuafi tying the game at 25 points. Fallon quickly began to advance, opening its lead to fight against the Lady Indian’s offense. The quarter closed with the Wave leading 37-36.

The final quarter saw Fallon continue to push ahead, holding its lead and opening the score. The Lady Indians fought hard but could not overcome the Wave’s defense to tie the game.

“I was just glad we could be competitive against Fallon,” said Elko coach Kaaren Ross. “They’re a great team, they’re coached well and they’ve got some strong players.”

She said her team played well and had lots of heart in the game. She said her players’ confidence was deflated after Fallon’s first quarter recovery.

Fallon coach Anne Smith said the game was as tense and energetic as she thought it would be. She recalled Elko is always a tough, well-led team.

“It’s always a very good game with them,” Smith said. “They’re very well disciplined and coached well.”

Cornmesser said the game went well, but not how they expected it since they started behind. She said they fought hard, though, and worked to improve their rebounds. She said they have also worked on stepping outside their comfort zone and using strategies they would not normally be comfortable using.

“Nothing will be given to us all season,” Cornmesser said of all the work they’ve been putting in. “We have to play our game so we’ll keep up.”

Smith said the Lady Wave had too many turnovers, which Elko capitalized on to get their lead and stay close. The defense was able to stop the Lady Indian’s run and hold them back. Rebounding was also something they had trouble with, though they improved during the game.

Cornmesser added they could always improve on the basics of throwing, rebounds and other mechanics.

Saturday’s game saw the Lady Wave dominate the court against Spring Creek; Fallon leapt out to an early lead, quickly opening it to 9 points. By the end of the first quarter, the Wave led 17-8. In the second quarter, Fallon slowed down the Lady Spartan’s offense as the score continued to widen. By halftime, the Lady Wave had a strong 33-15 lead.

In the second half, Fallon continued to dominate, though the players seemed to lose cohesion. While they kept the Lady Spartans back, there were a number of turnovers and other issues.

“Defensively we were there,” Smith said. “Offensively we kind of let down and only ended up with 8 points, 4 of which were from the field.”

She attributed the errors to the players trying a new offensive strategy and having trouble grasping it. Spring Creek was only able to score 3 points while the Wave increased their lead to 41-18.

The final quarter saw the Spring Creek players push for more points, but they could not break through enough to tie the game. Both teams scored near identical numbers, but the final score favored the Wave.

“I think we controlled the board tonight,” Smith said. “I believe if you can control the board, you give yourself a fighting chance to win.”

Otuafi and Cornmesser led the Wave with Cornmesser scoring 14 points and Otuafi tallying 11.

Smith noted Kaitlyn Hunter and Caitlyn Welch also had great games and added the whole team did well with rebounds.

Smith said she wasn’t happy with the number of turnovers made and the players would have to work on holding possession of the ball. She was happy with the outcome though and said it was impressive for the Wave to win back-to-back games against two great teams.

This week, the Lady Wave play Truckee at home on Friday.