NORTH meets SOUTH
After an undefeated league season and regional tournament, Fallon’s Lady Wave goes to Las Vegas goes for the championship in the Nevada 3A state basketball tournament.
Today the Wave takes on Mesquite’s Virgin Valley Bulldogs at 11 a.m. in Cox Center. Virgin Valley stands 22-4 overall and 10-0 in league. They enter the tournament as the south’s No. 2 seed after losing to Moapa Valley in the Southern 3A regional tournament.
If Fallon wins tonight, the team faces either Moapa Valley (8-2 league) or Lowry (14-2 league) for tomorrow’s championship at 11 a.m.
Fallon coach Anne Smith said she expects today’s game to be tough. Virgin Valley has mostly upperclassmen, with one freshman and sophomore to four seniors and six juniors. Most of their players are also tall with six standing over 5-foot-7-inches.
Senior Zoey Swisher said Virgin Valley looks like a good team. She also said the Wave would have to be on top of rebounds and other small details.
“It’s going to come down to who wants it most,” Swisher said.
The Wave has been working with the junior varsity boys during practice. Swisher noted the size difference between the players and how it’s good to play against bigger players since it gives an added challenge to get used to. Junior Caitlyn Welch said the boys’ team also plays with a different intensity.
“We’re working on plays and defense and just perfecting every little thing we’ve gone over this season,” Swisher said.
This week the team has practiced every day, with a lighter shooting day Thursday.
The team has also reviewed footage of the south’s competition. Smith said they’re tough teams and noted the competition is to be expected.
While they’re preparing strategies against the south, the players are also working on sharpening their skills and cleaning up areas of weakness. Over the last few weeks, Smith has said the team had issues with offense and need to fill those gaps.
“We’ll try to work on moving people, moving the ball, making the defense work a little bit instead of standing,” Smith said.
This is the second year in a row the Lady Wave has gone to state. Smith said she’s not changing how the team practices; she’s just getting the players prepared and sharp. Swisher and Welch added the past experience gives them a confidence boost since they know what to expect this year.
“We’re an older team now,” Swisher said. “We’re not a bunch of freshmen and sophomores, we’re now sophomores and juniors. We’re just more mature.”
Smith said she’s excited for the team to get to the tournament and that she’s done everything she can to prepare them.
“You try to do everything you can so that they feel prepared when they go; that’s what I’ve tried to do,” she said. “I’m trying to keep the girls calm and ready to go.”
Welch added they know what the tournament’s atmosphere will be like and won’t be overwhelmed. She also said the players are excited and she feels the team’s prepared for what’s to come.
Swisher said it was especially exciting going in as the first seed of the region, and that going in off the regionals win is a big confidence-booster.