Wave sports gears toward 2nd half of season
The winter sports season hits the halfway mark this weekend and fans will be in for a treat for the second half.
The Lady Wave, as predicted, is the only undefeated girls basketball team in the 3A North as Truckee visits Fallon tonight to conclude the first-half schedule. The Greenwave boys picked up a key win on Tuesday in Sparks and take on Truckee tonight, as well. The defending state champion wrestling team has put in many miles on several road trips and will head to Spring Creek this weekend for its first good look at the 3A.
In his second year, Trevor de Braga has the wrestling team going strong after placing 11th in a large tournament in Idaho last weekend. Last year’s wrestlers — Kobe Abe, Chase Hyde, Jack Swisher, Sean McCormick and Matt Goings — have led the team well and newcomers Ben Dooley and Tommy McCormick have helped complete the team going into this weekend’s eye-opening Kiwanis Invitational.
De Braga knows the formula to winning another state title. It’s not how many wrestlers can advance to the state tournament. It’s the quality of each wrestler, which keyed Fallon’s remarkable run last year in Primm. Don’t expect anything different this year.
For Anne Smith’s basketball team, Tuesday’s convincing win over Sparks allowed her to experiment with the lineup and work on certain phases of the game, which couldn’t have come at a better time.
Fallon lost one of its leaders last month when sophomore Leta Otuafi suffered an injury during practice. The team isn’t the same without her, especially when she’s on the floor with her cousin, Leilani Otuafi. As freshmen last season, the duo was one of the major reasons Fallon went to state.
But don’t worry, Greenwave fans. As Smith said on Tuesday, it’s a minor setback for the team, but at the same time, it allows others to step up into the spotlight and keep the Fallon dominance rolling.
Chandler McAlexander had a coming out party against Sparks and could help Fallon down the stretch, Faith Cornmesser also stepped up in Otuafi’s absence. Fallon, though, has many weapons.
Circle the first weekend of February as Fallon’s ultimate test and indicator how far the team will advance in the playoffs. Elko, which gave Fallon its biggest regular-season challenge in two years last weekend, will welcome the Lady Wave as the season nears its end. Fallon also plays at Lowry, which defeated the Lady Wave on a last-second 3-pointer in last year’s regional championship, this month.
In boys basketball, the race will be for the No. 3 seed.
South Tahoe and Elko have established themselves as the top teams in the league but there’s a cluster for that third spot. Fernley, Fallon and Spring Creek are vying for the critical seed as six teams will qualify for the regional tournament. The top two teams receive byes.
Fallon’s win over Sparks put Brad Barton’s team over .500 in league, a half game behind Spring Creek and Fernley (4-2) for third. Truckee, Dayton, Lowry and Sparks shouldn’t interfere with these three schools. But nothing’s certain. Fernley upset Elko last weekend, sending South Tahoe to the top spot.
Fallon’s young this year with the leading scorer being freshman Elijah Jackson (12.0 points per game). Junior Christian Nemeth averages 11.8 points per game to lead the upperclassmen.
The second half of the winter season will reveal more for the basketball teams because of the Lady Wave’s injury issue and the Greenwave boys fighting for better playoff position. The wrestling team will also be fun to watch, especially at state, which will be in Sparks next month.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.