Lady Wave outlasts Lowry | NevadaAppeal.com

Lady Wave outlasts Lowry

Tony Erquiaga
t.erquiaga@winnemuccapublishing.net
Kenna Hamlin (32) races to the net against Lowry's Alyssa Kuskie during Fallon's Friday game in Winnemucca.
Tony Erquiaga / Winnemucca Publishing |

The battle for supremacy in the Northern 3A was at stake on Friday night in Winnemucca, and the Lowry High School girls basketball team and Fallon did not disappoint the large crowd in attendance for Winterfest.

The two squads traded the lead throughout the night, with the Greenwave coming out on top 44-40 to hold on to first place in the league.

“We had our chances to win it,” said LHS head coach Chelsea Cabatbat. “We needed to take care of the ball better and make some shots. We missed a lot of easy baskets.”

The Lady Bucks jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, as junior Alyssa Kuskie scored five of those, including a 3-pointer to start the action. The Greenwave did not score their first points until there was 4:14 left in the opening quarter.

Lowry also found itself in foul trouble, with leading scorer Sydney Connors on the bench with two fouls halfway through the first eight minutes of play. Junior Shelby Garrison stepped up with two baskets late in the quarter to push the advantage back to four points at 10-6, and the Lady Bucks settled for a one-point lead after a quarter of play.

Fallon went ahead for the first time, 90 seconds into the second quarter, but three free throws by Hannah Hillyer pushed Lowry back in front at 13-12 in the low-scoring affair. The two teams traded baskets for the final few minutes of the first half, with Kenadee Jeppsen and Brooklyn Backus knocking down buckets to give Lowry a 17-16 lead at halftime.

After watching the Greenwave take a one-point lead early in the third quarter, the Lady Bucks went on a 10-2 run to go up 29-22. Hillyer started the spurt, scoring off an inbound play after a timeout, and Connors and Kepa Bengochea added the final six points on easy baskets near the rim.

Lowry had a chance to extend the margin to nine points, but missed a pair of free throws and did not score in the last 3:30 of the third quarter. Fallon cut the deficit to a point after two 3-point field goals by Leilani Otuafi, including one at the buzzer.

The Greenwave erased the Lady Buckaroo lead, when Caitlyn Welch knocked down a shot from long distance on the opening possession of the first half to give Fallon a 31-29 advantage.

The Greenwave capped off an 11-0 run to lead 33-29, but after a pair of free throws by Connors, the sophomore connected on a 3-pointer to put Lowry back on top at 34-33 with 5:40 to play. Moments later, Jeppsen hit a short shot to increase the gap to three points, but Otuafi nailed a 3-pointer the next time down the floor to tie the game.

With just over 90 seconds to play, Jeppsen tied the game at 38 with a basket. With just under a minute to play, it appeared Lowry might get the ball back on a charge call, but Connors was called for the foul, despite Otuafi dipping her shoulder and running into her.

Otuafi made 1-of-2 free throws to put Fallon in front 41-40. Lowry turned the ball over on its next possession, and the Greenwave answered with two free throws to go up 43-40 with 39 seconds to go. The Lady Bucks got a couple of looks at the basket but could not convert to tie the game.

“It was a good game,” Cabatbat said. “We will just have to learn from this in case we see them again.”

Fallon coach Anne Smith agreed, adding the teams played well.

“The girls played four quarters of tough basketball,” she said. “The girls on a whole moved the ball well offensively; I feel like we were able to adapt to whatever defense Lowry put up against us.”

She also said her team did what it planned to on defense. The Lady Bucks have strong three-point shooters, but Fallon prevented most of them.

“We did not want them to beat us from the three-point line,” Smith said. “I felt the girls did a good job of closing out and controlling that line.”

Connors and Jeppsen paced Lowry with 10 and nine points, respectively. Hillyer added six points, Kuskie five, Garrison four and Brooklyn Waller, Bengochea and Backus two each.

Otuafi led the Greenwave with 20 points while Welch and Faith Cornmesser each tallied seven. Cornmesser was also one of the leaders for rebounds, tallying 11. Kaitlyn Hunter and Otuafi also made seven and four rebounds respectively. Smith said the trio controlled the boards for the Wave.

Yesterday, the Lady Wave travelled to South Tahoe and Friday they play Dayton at home. Smith recalled South Tahoe is a tough place to play and they would have to be prepared for a tough game. She said Friday’s winterfest game would likely be a good one as well.