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Stout defense leads Falcons to win over Sierra Sage

By Carter Eckl ceckl@nevadaappeal.com

Sierra Lutheran girls basketball took care of business Thursday evening en route to its second win of the year, dispatching Sierra Sage 36-8.

It was a defensive display from the beginning for the Falcons, who held the Rams to just two points by the end of the first quarter. 

In fact, Sierra Lutheran allowed just four points in each half in the win. 

Mikayla Talkington and Kati Boogman got the scoring started for the Falcons, combining for the first eight points of the contest. 

A couple of steals by Raeann Nelson allowed the Falcons to get out in transition in the first quarter and establish a quick 12-2 lead. 

The pace slowed down in the second quarter as Sierra Lutheran took a 16-4 advantage into the halftime break. 

The Falcons managed to outscore the Rams 10-0 in the third quarter to essentially seal the game, leading 26-4 with eight minutes remaining. 

“This year we made it a goal that we were going to play a strong man defense and keep them out of the paint,” said Sierra Lutheran head coach Danika Neal. “I was really impressed with our guards and how they pressured the ball up top.”

As the defensive pressure mounted, the offense started to settle in. 

Ava Mellum and Talkington each assisted on one another’s baskets before Mellum sunk a mid-range jumper as the last bucket in the third quarter. 

From there, the duo continued to display their chemistry on the floor as Talkington opened the fourth quarter with a jumper from the elbow. 

Mellum responded with a deep two of her own to give the Falcons a 30-4 lead before the sophomore guard assisted Talkington for a basket on the inside, making it 34-6 late in the contest. 

“They both have really great basketball IQ, they know the game and they have a really great relationship on and off the court,” said Neal.

Both Mellum and Talkington ended the contest with 12 points apiece.

Mikaela Christenson ended the night with six points of her own in the victory. 

With a young team this season, Neal’s focus has been on growing with the Falcons and making sure Sierra Lutheran is defensively sound. 

“We’ve been talking a lot about speed and urgency,” said Neal. “They really took what we talked about this week and put it into motion, so I was happy to see that.”

UP NEXT: Sierra Lutheran enters its winter break with a 2-7 record and will have a few weeks off before its next contest at home against Smith Valley (4-2) Jan. 7.